Bin Laden’s body buried at sea

Brian Whitaker reports:

The dilemma of what to do with Osama bin Laden’s body appears to have been quickly resolved if reports that he has been buried at sea prove correct.

Burying him on land could have led to his grave becoming a centre of contention as well as raising questions about where he should be buried.

“Finding a country willing to accept the remains of the world’s most wanted terrorist would have been difficult,” a US official said, adding: “So the US decided to bury him at sea.”

Fears about Bin Laden’s burial place turning into a shrine for Islamists were probably unfounded, since the Wahhabi/Salafi tradition rejects such things. Even Saudi kings are buried in unmarked graves.

Senior US officials initially told news agencies that his body would be disposed of in accordance with Islamic tradition, which involves ritual washing, shrouding and burial within 24 hours.

Although the swift burial complies with Islamic custom and should therefore avoid causing any offence in Muslim countries, the apparent haste could lead to claims that the person killed was not really Bin Laden – though the US authorities have taken DNA samples and appear to have no doubts.

The 24-hour rule has not always been applied by the US in the past. For example, the bodies of Uday and Qusay Hussein – sons of the Iraqi dictator – were held for 11 days before being released for burial.

Burial at sea is rare in Islam, though several Muslim websites say it is permitted in certain circumstances.

One is on a long voyage where the body may decay before the ship reaches land. The other is if there is a risk of enemies digging up a land grave and exhuming or mutilating the body – a rule that could plausibly be applied in Bin Laden’s case.

For sea burial, according to, the body should be lowered into the water “in a vessel of clay or with a weight tied to its feet”. The website adds: “As far as possible it should not be lowered at a point where it is eaten up immediately by the sea predators.”

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3 thoughts on “Bin Laden’s body buried at sea

  1. pabelmont

    It seems just a bit silly that the USA has spent, what?, $1T to prosecute the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq all in the name (or sometimes in the name) of GWOT (and Bin Laden) when, by the expense of a comparatively few dollars (what? $1M?) for 2 small missiles, our indomitable Air Force could, on 9/11/2001, have shot down the two airplanes which flew so evidently off course and targeted buildings in NYC.

    I wonder why those airplanes were not shot down. Anyone official ever ask (in public)? Of course, this way, we got so much valuable practice fighting wars against our ever-so-tough opponents. and vastly expanded the numbers of our ever-so-tough opponents so that we have a wonderfully recurring, ever-expanding opportunity for war-fighting.

    Until China and others stop lending us money.

    But that’d be OK too!

    Absolutely amazingly, our financial geniuses have figured that out, too. How to generate free money! Gee-Whiz. (But, sorry, only for big banks.) The BB borrows from Bernanke at 0% interest and lends it to — YES! — the USA at , say, 2%, and makes money (called interest) which the USA gladly pays them for this rather comforting transaction. So that, in effect, the USA hands money to BBs and they hand it back and make interest on it. Great idea, hunh?

    Financial genius is born, not made!

    So, now, indefinite wars can be FREE! Yea!! (But only if the BBs pay for them.) (Kindly forget, for this purpose, that the USA must pay them interest on these loans.) And we needn’t fire all the police/firefighters/teachers/socialworkers. Money for everyone and never-ending war for those who love that sort of thing.

    (I’m rubbing my hands together.)

  2. John WTF

    Dude, learn to write before you try to argue. How drunk were you at 11:15 am?

  3. kfm

    What I know is that America just faked the whole issue. They failed to kill the real Osama Bin Laden and decided to claim they had done it for the fear of Pakistan’s awful reaction. Comeon the way I know America, they cant kill Osama without showing him off his remains to the whole world. They are too proud!!!! They did kill him.

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