Responding to the announcements that Sri Lanka is considering sending Muslim bodies to be buried in the Maldives, former Maldivian Foreign Minister, Dunya Maumoon, urged on Twitter that Sri Lanka “respect their Muslim minority’s wish to have last rites of Covid-19 patients as per our religion”.
I think we should invite Sri Lankan Muslims to move & live in Maldives. I am surprised that our Government & allied “sheikhs’ have not done so. I urge the Sri Lankan government to respect their Muslim minority’s wish to have last rites of Covid-19 patients as per our religion!
— Dunya Maumoon (@dunyamaumoon) December 15, 2020
The announcement follows international backlash to Sri Lanka’s imposition of forced cremations in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Despite World Health Officials guidance stressing that this was unnecessary, the current administration has refused change course on this policy.
In response, Tamils and Muslims across the North-East have staged protests demanding that the government respect the religious rights of Muslims.
During a virtual cabinet briefing, Sri Lankan government spokesperson, Keheliya Rambukwella reportedly downplayed the issue, maintaining that government’s policy of burials has not been discussed at the Cabinet.