To His Excellency Lok Chumteav, His Excellency Mam Bun Heng,
HE Keut Rith and the Governor of Phnom Penh,
In my message the day before yesterday regarding cremation (of those who may die of Covid-19), there was a request from the Muslim community regarding (their tradition of a proper) burial, which is considered an unavoidable obligation for the Muslim community. Therefore, I have granted, with the exception of a special case for Cambodian Muslims, permission for them to bury the body in a manner that includes health regulations accordingly. Therefore, at the time of making the sub-decree, there must be a separate provision, which is an exception for the Muslims in Cambodia in case of death due to Covid-19.
This is necessary. I think and hope that the Muslims may not have a case of death due to Covid-19. However, this is our precautionary measure. In case it happened, we allowed them to conduct burial ceremony according to the Muslim tradition in Cambodia. Please, please understand this issue. I hope our compatriots also understand this issue. For the majority in our country, we observe cremation, but the case of Muslims is another case that we have to respect their traditions.
There will come a request from the Chinese. However, I think we do not distinguish (from the Cambodian in general) yet, because this is the case of Covid-19. There will be question about this. We must try to explain this issue to avoid challenging problems between/among religions … the Muslims are only 5 percent (of the whole population). I believe there will probably be no Covid-19 related deaths for the Muslims when they implement the health measures.
Please take immediate action. However, I may add that the Muslims must also consider their proper places (of burial) in case that happens. They must be prepared and not to bury here and there without specified locations instructed/known by the Senior Muslim (Council) and permission granted from the authorities. Often, Those Muslim brothers and sisters have their chosen places for burial somewhere. Please proceed this way. Thank you.