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The U.S. government confirmed that Osama Bin Laden was buried at sea. At first glance this may seem harsh, but it really is not as harsh as it seems. It does defile the body.

Just as most religions have a tradition in burial, Islam has one too. Islamic law dictates that the body be bathed three times in a specific, ritualistic manner, while covered by a cloth. The bathers are generally same-gender family members of the deceased, though this clearly will not be the case for the body in question.   After bathing, the body is wrapped in a kafan – generally a white cotton cloth, to protect the modesty of the deceased. Prayers are then said to request forgiveness for the dead.  Burial customs vary by region, but it is tradition for the body to be buried the same day as death.

Traditionally the body is buried in the ground without a casket, with a grave marker that does not rise more than 12 inches above the ground.

U.S. officials say that Bin Laden was  buried at sea to prevent his grave site becoming a shrine and to discourage vandalism and grave desecration.  This adheres with Islamic tradition, as there is a stipulation that if it is likely that an enemy may try to dig up the grave or destroy the grave site, burial at sea — while not ideal — is allowed.

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