Over 130 imams refuse to bury London attackers

Trump holds a rally at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville Kentucky US Mar 20 2017. Reuters

Trump holds a rally at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville Kentucky US Mar 20 2017. Reuters

A GROUP of 130 imams and religious leaders have refused to perform the traditional Islamic funeral prayer for the London Bridge attackers.

In an unprecedented statement issued by the Muslim Council of Britain, a total of 139 leaders have said under no circumstances will they perform the ritual that is normally performed for every Muslim regardless of their actions - and they have also called on others to do the same.

They expressed "shock and utter disgust" at Saturday's "cold-blooded murders", and said the actions of the attackers "alienates them from any association with our community for whom the inviolability of every human life is the founding principle (Q.5:32)".

The letter also praised United Kingdom law enforcement and encouraged other imams and religious leaders to "withdraw such a privilege" of performing funeral rites for the attackers.

"These vile murderers seek to divide our society and instill fear; we will ensure they fail".

In March a separate vehicle and knife attack in Westminster left five people dead, and a bombing at an Ariana Grade concert in Manchester May 22, killed 22 people, most of whom were youth.

"We seek to clarify that their reprehensible actions have neither legitimacy nor our sympathy", they said, adding they refuse to "perform the traditional Islamic funeral prayer over the perpetrators".

'But we, as imams, work across the country and we work with the community.

Signatories urged fellow imams and religious authorities to withdraw the privilege of the prayer because of the "indefensible actions" of the perpetrators, which are "completely at odds with the lofty teachings of Islam".

"We implore everyone to unite: we are one community", the statement said "In the face of such dastardly cowardice, unlike the terrorists, we must uphold love and compassion".

The terrorists had driven a van into people on London Bridge before stabbing people in nearby Borough Market on Saturday night.

Amaq Agency, a group connected to ISIS, called them a "detachment of Islamic State fighters", though, as with many attacks that ISIS has taken credit for, there is no evidence linking the three men to either agency.

"When the government doesn't talk to Muslim leaders, then they are going to get their strategy wrong", he said, while at the same time denying that U.K. Islamic institutions facilitate radicalization.

"Along with the overwhelming majority of the Muslim population, I am disgusted by this act, I want to send a crystal-clear message around the world: The sick and wicked ideology of these evil extremists is no form of Islam that I recognize".

'This terrorist attack is an attack on all communities, including Muslim communities, ' it read.

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