Families of coronavirus victims in France are foregoing traditional death and mourning rituals to stem the spread of Covid-19 infections. But for observant Muslims and Jews, the absence of these rites are an additional emotional burden at a difficult time.
After an initial delay, French authorities issued an official order on April 2 banning the washing, embalming and other forms of funerary preparations employed by many religious groups.
"Epidemic situations are not new to the Muslim faith,” said Mohammed Moussaoui, president of the French Council of Muslim Faith (CFCM), in an interview with FRANCE 24. “We had to inform the faithful of these exceptional rules.”
One of the most important is the suspension of rituals such as washing and preparing the body for burial. The argument for these suspensions, Moussaoui explained, is very simple: “It's the preservation of the life of the person who performs these rituals.”