Chaplains may give last rites to Iraqis
British Forces chaplains in the Gulf have been issued with Islamic prayer cards so that they can administer the last rites and bury Muslims killed in battle, reports The Times.
The Rev Squadron Leader Andrew Jones, attached to the British Harrier Force in the desert, said: ìI will say the words of the shahada (Islamic declaration of faith), which I have written on a specially laminated card, and many other chaplains have it also.
I will say: ëThere is no God but Allah and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah, Amen ó Allah is great,í which I repeat four times.
ìThe Muslim extremists may not take too kindly to a Christian chaplain being there, but we donít want to upset them. In the last Gulf War it was left to us to bury many Iraqis."
It is possible that chaplains will also encounter Iraqi Christians who have been killed by US and UK forces.
ìIt is part of my job to issue the last rites." he said. "I hope I wonít have to use them, but I would be a very poor chaplain if I wasnít prepared for all faiths.î
A Church of England spokesman said it was a matter for chaplains of the Ministry of Defence, but added: ìChaplains are there to look after pastoral and spiritual needs of all the Armed Forces, and that includes members of the Muslim faith.î