Chief imam of East London Mosque asks coroner Mary Hassell to reconsider religious burials decision

PUBLISHED: 15:03 14 February 2018 | UPDATED: 15:40 14 February 2018

Mary Hassell is the senior coroner for inner north London coroners' court. Picture credit: Archant.

Mary Hassell is the senior coroner for inner north London coroners' court. Picture credit: Archant.


The chief imam of a Whitechapel mosque has written to a coroner asking her to reconsider her controversial decision not to prioritise religious burials.

Abdul Qayum from the East London Mosque is urging Mary Hassell to reverse her policy which has been heavily criticised by members of the Muslim and Jewish community.

Ms Hassell, whose remit covers Hackney, Tower Hamlets, Islington and Camden, said that no death will be prioritised on religious grounds.

Both religions call for bodies to be buried as quickly as possible after death, often the same day, and an invasive autopsy should be avoided.

In his letter Mr Qayum said: “In my experience, coroner services have been able to respect religious needs without disadvantaging

anyone else.

“Indeed, the Ministry of Justice in its guidance makes clear that your office must take account of family and community preferences, including religious requirements.

“I hope you will reconsider the position you have taken, and ensure that families seeking an expedited burial will be accommodated whenever possible as a matter of course.”

An Orthodox Jewish organisation has been granted the right to launch a judicial review over Ms Hassell’s decision.

The High Court hearing will take place on March 27 and 28.

Related articles

Latest East London News Stories

The council has been slammed after a wall with a plaque dedicated to one of the ‘greatest ever Brits’ was left covered with graffiti and rubbish dumped nearby..

Chicken fans missing out on their favourite food after KFC closed stores across the country have been urged not to call the police to complain.

Boaters have been told not to move their vessels as environment bosses work to clean up a major oil spill polluting the River Lea.


KFC has announced more store closures after delivery problems meant that it ran out of chicken.


A voluntary group of St John’s Ambulance cadet lifesavers in Canary Wharf is desperately looking for youth leaders to run the branch.

Yesterday, 18:00

Meet two sisters passionate about olive oil who don’t let you leave their family-run restaurant feeling hungry—then you must be in Wapping.

Yesterday, 17:41

Shoppers paying for carrier bags at the supermarket have spent enough to donate £3,800 to help homeless patients at the Royal London Hospital get through winter.

Yesterday, 15:33

Flames which damaged part of a church in Bethnal Green were caused by a carelessly discarded cigarette, London Fire Brigade (LFB) believe.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read news

Show Job Lists


Having a brand new kitchen is something that lots of people want but can only dream of. Sadly keeping up to date and making our living spaces as nice as they can be is a costly and incredibly stressful business. Even a fresh coat of paint makes all the difference but isn’t easy or quick.

Who wouldn’t love the chance to go on a shopping spree. Imagine being able to walk into a shop and choose whatever your heart desires without having to worry about how much it costs.

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Docklands and East London Advertiser
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now