Relatives of a Muslim woman who died in a motorcycle crash in Lockport, Man. on the weekend are devastated and said their faith isn’t being respected.
"Right now they're in solidarity, and they're just mourning," said Glenda Lagadi, who has been helping the family deal with their loss.
An autopsy was done on the body of 20-year-old Sabrin Hassan Monday, which went against the family’s religious beliefs.
Speaking on behalf of the family, Lagadi said autopsies, which include surgical cuts on the body, are against their faith.
"The family even went to the site and begged them to please release the body because we have to wash it, and then we have to bury it as soon as possible."
Hassan was a passenger on a motorcycle that crashed on River Road in Lockport Sunday night.
The 26-year-driver of the motorcycle collided with a parked car.
The driver survived, but Hassan was thrown from the motorcycle and died. It was her first time on a motorcycle.
Police said speed may have been a factor.
Autopsy against Islamic tradition
Under Islamic tradition a person is supposed to be buried within 24 hours of their death, and the body needs to be washed by family members before the burial, Lagadi said.
The office of the chief medical examiner said religious burial rights are taken into consideration, but only when it is possible without disrupting an investigation into the cause of death.
In this case, an autopsy was necessary because Hassan's death could be part of a future court case.
“Although I was not successful to stop the autopsy, I would hope this would be the last one, and this will be the end.”
Shahina Siddiqui with Islamic Social Services in Winnipeg said she sympathizes with the family, but she also understands the medical examiner has an important job to do.
"Their hands are also tied by law, they have to do it, they need to give an answer," said Siddiqui.
But Siddiqui said the medical examiner needs to respect the wishes of the victim's family as much as possible, adding the medical examiner's office is very culturally sensitive.
Hassan is being remembered as a friendly young woman with a bright future who had been in the city for a year after moving with her parents from Somalia to Winnipeg.
Her funeral is being planned for Wednesday.