A proverb advises us that "death cancels everything but truth." Two grief-stricken families recently encountered disagreeable aspects of the truth that death leaves unaltered: aggressive elements of the Islamic community who seek to impose their faith upon others, and multicultural policies that grant certain benefits to Muslims alone.
First, when Shafayet Reja was killed last month in a car accident on Long Island, NY, his parents — one Hindu and one Muslim — decided to cremate his remains. In contrast, Islam requires that bodies be buried. A group of irate Muslims, among them local imams insisting that Reja had practiced Islam, crashed the funeral to demand that the cremation be called off — or else:
The couple say that people accosted them at their son's funeral, that an angry crowd threatened to boycott a shopping center they own in Jackson Heights, Queens, and that on September 13, two men they know threatened to bomb and burn down the building.
The funeral staff called the police in part because the Rejas feared the crowd would try to block the hearse going to the crematorium.
Reja's mother was outraged that the interlopers had pressed their case as she and her husband were weeping beside the coffin. "I was having my last moment with my son," she said. "What gave them the guts to do that?" One word: Islamism.
Also in September, a British woman learned that some bereaved families are more equal than others. Jean Maltby hoped to bury her stepfather on a Saturday to make it easier for relatives to attend. However, a Sheffield cemetery informed her that it does not permit Saturday services — except for Muslims, in recognition of their "specific cultural and religious needs surrounding burial," a reference to the Islamic custom that the dead be interred quickly.
Maltby's funeral director rightly pointed out that many groups have religious requirements and "a service offered to one section of society should be given to everyone." He continued:
What the council is doing is operating a two-tier system and this will only alienate people against Muslims in the city.
Bereavement is a sensitive issue and the council needs to rethink its policy to make it fair to everyone.
As the Reja and Maltby stories demonstrate, even death provides no respite from the twin afflictions of Islamism and political correctness. And that unfortunate truth is reason for each of us to mourn.