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Coroner’s burial delays spark anger in Muslim community

New West Yorkshire Coroner Peter Straker, pictured at City Hall, Bradford....25th July 2012...Picture by Simon Hulme

New West Yorkshire Coroner Peter Straker, pictured at City Hall, Bradford....25th July 2012...Picture by Simon Hulme

Muslims throughout North Kirklees are up in arms over what they claim are needless delays to burials of loved ones.

Furious families say coroner Peter Straker - who has been suspended pending an investigation - is holding up Muslim ceremonies by ordering too many post-mortem examinations.

Under Islamic beliefs, funerals should take place within 24 hours of death if at all possible.

Akooji Badat, a member of North Kirklees Burial Committee and a mosque chairman, said: “Some funerals are having to wait at least five days. That is out of order. The whole community is shocked. We are finding it hard to fulfil religious obligations.”

Kirklees councillor Hanif Mayet’s family is one which has been affected. A cousin in her early 40s died last Saturday in Dewsbury and District Hospital. Her family arranged a funeral for 1.30pm on Sunday, to meet religious requirements.

“People were travelling to Batley from well outside the area,” said Coun Mayet. “Then our funeral director told us Dr Straker had said paperwork could not be signed off until Monday. We had to try to ring everyone to say the funeral would not be until Monday.

“This was embarrassing for the family. There seems to be a lack of understanding. People are up in arms.”

A petition was launched against Dr Straker at a meeting at the Al Hikmah Centre in Batley on Wednesday.

An Office for Judicial Complaints spokesman said: “A number of complaints have been received against Coroner Peter Straker. These are being investigated. As part of this, the Lord Chancellor and Lord Chief Justice have suspended Dr Straker from office pending the conclusion of its investigation.”

 

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