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Letter: Burial politics

We of Mount Toby Friends Meeting (Quakers) feel a great sadness for the bombing in Boston on Patriot’s Day, April 15, 2013. We also are grieved that one of those implicated in the bombing, Tamerlan Tsarneaev, was vilified to the extent that the city of Cambridge and many cemeteries refused to bury him. As Quakers, we are opposed to violence in all its manifestations. The bombing was an act of great violence. We do not want to perpetuate this violence in the way we treat the body of one of those implicated in it. Further, this rejection of his remains runs counter to our belief that the Spirit, the Divine Light, is present within every human being. We are all children of God, deserving of a decent burial and prayers.

A burial ground in Virginia was finally found to receive Tamerlan’s body after the efforts of one courageous and compassionate woman. We wish to thank and to commend the courage and decency shown by Peter Stefan, director of Graham Putnam & Mahoney Funeral Parlors in Worcester, who held the body in the face of protests, and Martha Mullen of Virginia, who searched until she found a cemetery willing to accept the burial.

We affirm that our own burial ground is a potential sanctuary for those in need of a compassionate burial in any similar case where politics and public outcry is so strong that burial elsewhere is refused.


For the Mount Toby Friends Meeting


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