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Osama bin Laden’s burial at sea and the history of Shariah

Watery Grave, Murky Law
The New York Times
May 7, 2011

After Osama bin Laden’s corpse was slipped into the North Arabian Sea, the White House’s chief counterterrorism adviser declared that the United States had buried him “in strict conformance with Islamic precepts and practices.” According to a senior military official, the body was washed, shrouded and dispatched with a funeral prayer.

Despite its best efforts, the United States government still has much to learn about the intricacies of Muslim funerary law. Its strictures are more nuanced, and perhaps also more flexible, than it imagined.

Read the full article in The New York Times

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