Senior Christian leader backs Jewish concerns over ‘cab rank’ burial policy
search

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

Senior Christian leader backs Jewish concerns over ‘cab rank’ burial policy

Rt Revd Rob Wickham criticised coroner Mary Hassell's controversial policy, in which she refuses to prioritise religious burials

Rt Revd Rob Wickham
Rt Revd Rob Wickham

A senior Christian leader has backed Jewish and Muslim calls for a London coroner to fast-track the release of bodies for quicker burial for religious reasons when able.

The intervention from the Bishop of Edmonton, Rt Revd Rob Wickham, came a day before judges determine the legality of policies from the office of Mary Hassell, a senior coroner for Inner North London.

Hassell angered Jewish and Muslim families – who prioritise speedy burials for religious reasons – after confirming her “cab-rank rule” for releasing bodies. Her policy is this week being challenged in the High Court in a judicial review.

Ahead of the hearing, however, the Bishop of Edmonton appealed to Hassell to act in accordance with religious sensitivities.

“The death of a loved one usually brings much grief and vulnerability for any family and community… At these moments it is of great comfort when people are able to observe specific mourning and burial rites in accordance with their religious beliefs,” he said.

“On behalf of the different faith communities in the very diverse north London, I would hope that [Hassell] would be respectful of such religious practices and freedoms which ultimately enable the whole community to grieve well.”

Board of Deputies’ vice-president Marie van der Zyl said Wickham’s was “an important intervention,” adding: “While the Senior Coroner for Inner North London seems determined to cause unnecessary upset to grieving families, people of different faiths are coming together to call for a different approach of compassion and common sense that respects religious freedom and religious diversity.”

Help perform the greatest mitzvah: save a life

While life in Israel has returned to normal and hopes are high that Britain is set for a summer without restrictions thanks to vaccines, for billions around the world there is no such imminent light at the end of the tunnel. In the majority of countries around the globe, particularly the poorest, the vaccine rollout has barely kicked off.

That's why Jewish News, the leading source of news and opinion for the entire UK community, is throwing its full weight behind UNICEF’s VaccinAid campaign by using this platform usually reserved for encouraging donations towards our own journalism to instead urge our readers around the globe to perform the greatest mitzvah: saving a life.

We have never before done this for any charity fundraiser but it's hard to recall a campaign that affects so many people, and indeed an entire planet aching for a return to normality. Just like the Chief Rabbi and Rachel Riley, we hope to boost the mission to deliver two billion vaccines, 165 million treatments and 900 million test kits around the world by the end of this year.

Please donate as much as you can, in the spirit of the Talmudic sages: “to save one life is to save the world entire”

read more:
comments