Muslim & Jewish communities praised MP Naz Shah’s role on Burial Amendment

Arif Qureshi

Member of Parliament for Bradford West and Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities of UK Labour party MP Naz Shah has been praised by Muslim and Jewish communities for her role on a proposed amendment to an emergency Corona-virus Bill.

Board of Deputies of British Jews and the Muslim Council for Britain appreciated the role of MP Naz Shah. Members of both communities of Briton also continued praise for Bradford West MP on Social media. 

There were anxieties, especially among Jews and Muslims whose faiths forbid cremation, that local authorities, in the event the number of deaths increase dramatically, would be able to use the emergency powers to disregard legal safeguards that currently prevent the cremation of human remains against the wishes of the deceased.

MP Naz Shah submitted an amendment, which was backed by more than 100 MPs, to the Corona virus Bill which was brought to the House of Commons on Monday 23 March, to exempt those from faith backgrounds from automatically being cremated if they die after contracting corona virus.

But the amendment was accepted without voting. MP Naz Shah in her tweet later tanked all those who supported her, “I’m so relieved that the Government have listened to what we’ve said about religious burials for Muslim and Jewish people and have brought forward an amendment to address our concerns,”  MP shah added.

Marie van der Zyl, President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews expressed her gratitude to the Government for working with the Jewish community to amend legislation in order to protect the religious freedoms of religious minorities. “This has been an inspiring example of interfaith solidarity and responsive government. It shows, even in these difficult times for our nation, why we have so much reason to be proud of this wonderful country.” Marie added.

Marie said: “We would like to extend our deep and sincere thanks to the Government for working with us to amend this legislation to protect the final wishes and religious freedoms of the deceased. There could be few things more sacred.

“In particular, we are grateful to Health Secretary Matt Hancock, Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick, Paymaster General Penny Mordaunt, Communities Minister Simon Clarke and the Prime Minister’s Special Envoy for Freedom of Religion and Belief, Rehman Chishti, for acting speedily to address the concerns raised by Jewish and Muslim communities.

“Our thanks go also to Naz Shah MP for her own proposed amendment, and to Wes Streeting MP, Co-Chair of the APPG on British Jews for their close communication with us throughout the Bill process. 

The Muslim Council of Britain warmly welcomed the UK Government’s amendment which recognises the importance of ensuring faith communities are able to bury the deceased instead of cremating in the event of significant deaths due to Coronavirus.

The Muslim Council For Britain said in a statement: “We pay tribute to the handwork of MP Naz shah for  for raising the issue alongside others, and the All Party Parliamentary Group on British Muslims for mobilizing support for this important change across the House, and we also thank those MPs who support the amendment.”

A government spokesperson said: “We have worked closely with faith groups, MPs and local authorities to reassure them that we are fully committed to respecting religious practices. “We recognize the huge importance of this and will do everything we can to maintain the right for a person or their loved one to have their preferences respected and the wishes of the bereaved upheld.

Arif Qureshi is Editor Daily Online “The Fortress” he can be reached at arifqoreshi@gmail.com

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