A verse from the Koran is to be read at the funeral of Mia Ayliffe-Chung, the British backpacker who was stabbed to death in Australia last week by a French Muslim who allegedly shouted ‘Allahu akbar’ as he carried out the attack.
According to Mia’s mother, Rosie Ayliffe, the reading from the Koran has been included in the funeral service as a way to distance her daughter’s murder from the suggestion that her daughter’s death was terror-related. Her daughter’s funeral will draw on a range of religions to create a multi-faith funeral reminiscent of Mia’s life, she said.
Mia, 21, died immediately after being stabbed multiple times by Frenchman Smail Ayad, 29, at a hostel in Home Hill, Queensland, Australia, last week. Ayad is said by witnesses to have shouted “Allahu akbar” (“God is greatest”) during the attack.
A second victim, Tom Jackson, 30, passed away on Tuesday having sustained 15 stab wounds to the face while trying to intervene in the attack. A third man sustained non-life threatening injuries, and a dog was also killed in the attack.
Following the attack, Queensland Police Service Deputy Commissioner Steve Gollschewski told reporters: “Initial inquiries indicate that comments which may be construed of being of an extremist nature were made by the alleged offender,” but added that he “appears to have acted alone”.
Queensland police later reported that there were no signs that Ayad was radicalised, apparently suggesting that the attack was not terror related.
“After talking about the misrepresentation of Mia’s death in the media as an act of terrorism on the part of an Islamic fundamentalist, the minister delivering the service suggested we include a Koranic reading, and he will find something suitable with a friend who is an Islamic scholar. I’m hoping this will be read by a friend of Mia’s,” Ms. Ayliffe has noted in a blog for The Independent.
She adds: “Mia was essentially Buddhist in outlook: she derived immense comfort from meditation, and she believed in reincarnation and other tenets of Buddhism. We have therefore decided on a prolonged, reverberating note from a Buddhist singing bowl to signify the beginning and end of a meditation on life and death.”
A Jewish song will be sung, and, as many in the family are Christian, the service will also include a reading of Revelation chapter 21, which describes the coming of a new heaven and new earth.
However, Ms. Ayliffe admitted they are leaving out verse eight – “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death” – as it is “something of a challenge”.