New York, NY, March 23, 2020 ... ADL (the Anti-Defamation League) released the following statement today concerning the Coronavirus bill currently circulating in the House of Commons that would allow local authorities to cremate a body against the wishes of the deceased.
ADL supports the efforts of Jewish and Muslim communities to assure that religious rights and sensitivities are accommodated within government public health measures, in particular with regard to cremation, when such accommodations do not negatively impact public health.
In the United Kingdom, the Board of Deputies of British Jews has called upon the British government "to mandate local authorities to take account of the religious beliefs when releasing bodies, and not defaulting to cremation, which will only add to the sorrow of grieving families and go against fundamental freedoms of religion and belief." A similar statement was made by the organization, Muslim Engagement & Development
ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said, "Government's first responsibility is to protect all its citizens, and Jewish law prioritizes the protection of life above all else. We believe that religious accommodations can be made to prevent unwanted cremation without negatively impacting public health, and we encourage governments to consult religious and community leaders who want to avoid unnecessary infringements on their beliefs."