The Issues With Burying the French Terrorists in France

French law allows local burials, but officials don't want fanatics visiting graves
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 16, 2015 8:31 AM CST
The Issues With Burying the French Terrorists in France
This file photo combo of images provided by the Prefecture of Police of Paris shows suspects Cherif, left, and Said Kouachi, who authorities say carried out an attack at the "Charlie Hebdo" newspaper.   (AP Photo/Prefecture de Police de Paris, File)

It's been a week since French gunmen Cherif Kouachi, Said Kouachi, and Amedy Coulibaly were killed, but their bodies remain unburied, probably somewhere in a Paris morgue, the New York Times reports. French law allows for local burial, though an official family request must be made to the mayor of the city where the deceased either lived or died; the family may also choose to bury the body in a family plot or bring it back to their home country. But no official requests have been made yet for the three Muslim attackers, either from their families or the Paris prosecutor, the Times notes. And a few local mayors have already said they'd refuse such requests to prevent gravesite visits from fanatics.

"If I'm asked to bury Said Kouachi, I will refuse categorically," the mayor of Reims, where Kouachi lived, tells the Times. "[Cemeteries are a] place of peace. I don't want them to become a place of hatred." France is a secular state, so Muslim cemeteries, where tombs are oriented toward Mecca, are scarce, the BBC noted in 2013. And burials in France are usually "provisional," which means the grave needs to be vacated after a 30- or 50-year lease is up and the body placed in a common grave—at odds with the Muslim mandate that bodies should generally remain untouched. If a burial request is made despite these issues, a mayor could keep the dead's name and any other provocative words off the headstone to prevent unwanted visitors, a funeral law expert tells BFMTV. (A similar problem arose regarding Tamerlan Tsarnaev's burial.)

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