18 Mar 2019

Christchurch mosque attacks: Funerals for victims begin

From Morning Report, 7:10 am on 18 March 2019

The first funerals for the 50 victims of the Christchurch mosque attacks are expected as early as Monday as the bodies of those killed on Friday start being returned to their families. The coroner's office began releasing the first of the bodies on Sunday night. Prime Minister Jacinda Adern told the media victims will be returned to families as soon as possible. It is Muslim tradition to bury their dead as soon as possibly after death, usually within 24 hours. Experts in Islamic funeral and burial rites are heading to Christchurch to help prepare the bodies for burial. One of those who will be helping is the Imam of the At-Taqwa mosque in Auckland, Mohammed Anwar. The Chief Coroner, Judge Deborah Marshall says she is very aware of the families' distress over the time being taken to return the bodies. But she says it's critical the identification process follows best international practice.