Relatives of the deceased pray next to the grave. The traditional Islamic prayer for the dead can only be performed after the body is buried. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)

Renowned Preacher Calls for Empathy Following Protests Against Covid-19 Victim Burial


APRIL 04, 2020

Jakarta. Popular Muslim preachers have urged the public to stop stigma related to Covid-19 and avoid discrimination against its victims after reports about people in several cities rejected the deceased's' burial in near where they live surfaced in local media. 

On Tuesday, a protest from Tumiyang village residents in Banyumas district, Central Java, forced the district government to exhume the body of a Covid-19 victim from the cemetery in the village and move it elsewhere. The residents feared that the body may still be able to cause infection in the surrounding area.

Muslim preacher and founder of Pondok Pesantren Da'arut Tauhiid Abdullah Gymnastiar, or more famously known as Aa Gym, said such fear was unfounded. 

"If the procedure is in line with the [World Health Organization] as well as sharia standards, then it is entirely safe," Aa Gym said in a recent statement. 


He called for the public to be more considerate and to sympathize with the family of the deceased.

"The pain felt by family members is unimaginable. They couldn't see the corpse for the last time, let alone taking care of it. The public should not be reacting this way," he said.

Aa Gym said a lack of education about the issue might be one of the reasons behind public apprehension. Therefore, he persuaded all concerning parties to more rigorously educate the public about everything there is to know about Covid-19, including the burial protocol.

West Java Governor Ridwan Kamil had also commented on the news about local protests against the burial of Covid-19 victims. Similar to Aa Gym, he also ensured the protocol ensures the bodies are treated in a dignified manner. 

Also, the protocol ensures the safety of the medical workers, the funeral workers, and the safety of the victim's family and the public.

"I've heard news where the public rejected the burial of Covid-19 patients for fear the virus might spread. That is not true," Ridwan said.

"The virus dies when its host dies, and hospitals are doing procedure set by the WHO. So it's completely safe," Ridwan said.