One of the biggest concerns for prospective airline passengers is the screening process of flight cargo. According to reports, only a small percentage of cargo that is loaded onto planes is screened for explosives. And of the cargo that is in fact screened, rarely does it include large containers. The question needs to be asked: What if, in our laxity, these containers became a preferred method of attack by terrorists? And what if the contents of the containers being used for the attacks were once living and breathing?
Just like with any other religion, Muslim funerals have their own distinct customs and traditions. As stated in the ‘Muslim Funeral Guide for the residents of the Chicagoland,’ the funerals include: the preparation and washing of the deceased (Ghusl); the placing of a shroud (Kafan) over the body; transportation from the funeral home to the mosque for prayers; and transportation from the mosque back to the funeral home. It is the movement of the body to and from the mosque that is of concern.
According to the Funeral Home Administrator for a large facility based in Orlando, Florida, the prayers that take place at the mosque are fairly extensive. In addition, depending on how religious the family is, the body may, instead of being cleansed at the funeral home, be cleansed at the mosque. As well, in the Islamic tradition, bodies must be buried within 24 hours of death. If the body has to be transported to another state, or even another country, this certainly puts a constraint on the process.
Funeral homes will go out of their way to satisfy their customers, with respect to these needs and more. According to the Orlando facility, “It depends what the family desires… [If they] wish to have a cleansing ceremony, before the shipping out, so they know that the appropriate religious measures have been taken, that’s not a problem… These days, it doesn’t have to be one way or the other. Generally, a funeral home is flexible in trying to accommodate everybody’s wishes. I mean, that’s what we’re here for.”
In that flexibility, funeral home directors or administrators do not have to supervise what happens inside of the mosque. And given the sensitive nature of loved ones passing away, that is understandable. However, if the intent of those within the mosque is to inflict harm on others, this flexibility could be quite deadly.
Funeral homes take great pains to respect the remains of the dead. If the body inside the casket is altered in any way – even removed and replaced by something with similar weight – it is quite possible that this will go unnoticed by the funeral home. That means that, if an explosive were to be placed inside of the deceased’s body, no one would know.
Appalling as this may be, it is far from an unfounded notion. Just this past June, two U.S. soldiers were found dead in Iraq, their bodies rigged with explosives. Reports of the incident described the bodies as being “booby-trapped.”
As well, in April of 2005, Al-Iraqiya TV aired an interrogation of terrorist Adnan Elias who assisted in the kidnapping and beheading of an Iraqi police officer, whose body was later used as a bomb loaded with TNT. Elias illustrated the brutal death of the officer at the hands of a fellow terrorist: “Habib 'Izzat Hamu got the knife. He slaughtered him, and when he was dead, he opened his shirt buttons and cut open his stomach… He opened him up, took stuff out, and put TNT and explosives inside. Then, he sewed up his stomach with thick thread.” He then discussed how his ‘cell’ used the body to kill others. He stated, “We were told to take him in the car near the square in Tel A'far. We threw him there and placed his head back on his shoulders… 15 to 30 minutes later, they told his family to come and get their son. His father came with two policemen. They picked up the body and made no more than two steps – we were standing far away – Ahmad Sinjar pressed the button… The body exploded on them, and they died.”
The fear, with regard to Islamic funeral services, is that the bodies may be packed with explosives, as what was described in the aforementioned, and then used to blow holes in planes mid-air. Of course, this scenario cannot occur if the bodies are checked before being boarded onto the aircraft. Unfortunately, according to industry sources, inspection of caskets or shipping containers with the deceased inside – out of respect for the dead – does not take place.
During discussions with representatives from the Miami cargo station of ‘Delta Cares,’ it was learnt that large containers are not scrutinized, unless there is thought something suspect about the containers or unless the containers are bound for another country. And caskets or containers holding the deceased are never looked at period, including, as stated by one of the reps, those that are being loaded for international flights. The only things that are checked are the paperwork (death certificates, burial transit permits, etc.) necessary to ship the bodies.
“Would you want your mother’s casket being inspected?” the Delta rep asked. In a May 2005 Wall Street Journal article, entitled ‘Shipping News: How funeral directors earn free flights,’ Delta claimed that its company alone ships 50,000 corpses per year in the cargo holds of its passenger planes. According to the article, the perks funeral homes receive from this have been nicknamed the “frequent dier program.” One has to figure that at least some of these corpses are mothers of those that fit the profile of potential terrorists. In that case, the answer to the question is “yes.”
In the war on terrorism, measures that would normally be thought of as unconventional, if not entirely offensive, need to be taken to protect the security of the nation. The profiling of the deceased is but one of these measures – and certainly one that should garner more attention than the examination of passengers’ mascara or ChapStick. In the end, saving lives is all that matters.
[To learn more about how to secure the United States from terrorist attacks, attend the upcoming America’s Truth Forum symposium, ‘Understanding the Threat of Radical Islamist Terrorism,’ taking place in Las Vegas this November 10th and 11th. Go to www.americastruthforum.com for more details.]
Click Here to support Frontpagemag.com.