Muslim leaders call for relaxation of rules governing burial permits in...

Muslim leaders call for relaxation of rules governing burial permits in Lamu

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Part of Lamu Island. FILE/PHOTO.

Lamu, KENYA: Muslim leaders in Lamu want the county administration to tone down regulations governing the acquisition of burial permits.

On Monday,Lamu county commissioner Joseph Kanyiri announced that the county administration would exhume all  exhume all bodies buried without permits.

He also said pastors and Imams found conducting burial ceremonies without the burial permits would also be prosecuted.

In their defense, Lamu Swafaa mosque Principal Imam Idarus Alwy said they are normally forced to forego the burial permits and bury people without them, since there are complicated regulations governing their acquisition.

Alwy said chiefs who have been mandated with the issuance of the burial permits are rarely found in their offices whenever people seek them out on the matter.

He called on the government to conduct awareness campaigns to enable the public understand the legal procedures governing burials.

Alwy said there was need for Imams to be accorded the mandate to issue death notifications, which can later be used to process burial permits even after a person is buried.

“Sometimes we unknowingly commit mistakes. First, the government needs to create awareness on the issue of death registration. We also propose that we as religious leaders be given authority to issue burial notifications in times of emergencies like death,” said Mr Alwy.

“As Muslims, we have a challenge in acquiring burial permits basing on the burial time limit we have since a person is to be buried within 6 or 8 hours after death has occurred as per our faith. We are sometimes forced to bury our dead without the permit since the process required to get a permit is too long and mostly complicated,” said Alwy.

It is estimated that 68 percent of deaths and 29 percent of births occurring in Lamu annually are never recorded.