Muslim Funeral for Bin Laden Was ‘Smart,' Says Sen. Graham

By Matt Cover | May 3, 2011 | 4:22 PM EDT

Pakistani Islamists offer funeral prayers for Osama bin Laden in Karachi on Tuesday, May 3, 2011. (AP Photo/Shakil Adil)

Washington ( was “smart” for the government to hold an Islamic funeral service for Osama bin Laden aboard the USS Carl Vinson shortly after killing him May 1, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said Tuesday.

Speaking to reporters at a Capitol Hill press briefing, Graham said the government should have held onto the body longer and obtained independent forensic analysis in order to deter conspiracy theories.  It was nonetheless “smart” to observe Muslim burial traditions for bin Laden, he said.

“Religious sensitivity is smart,” Graham said. “At Guantanamo Bay the worst people in the world – some of them – get prayer rugs and a Qur’an. I know our guys would not be that well treated.”

Graham said the move was “about us,” implying that affording bin Laden Muslim funeral rites was more about upholding American values than about showing respect for the man who murdered nearly 3,000 Americans.

“But, it is about us when we capture someone, so I’m proud that my nation, our nation, would be sensitive to religion, even though the people involved are not sensitive themselves,” he said.

“The one thing about an Islamic burial of bin Laden – that’s smart – but don’t allow this sensitivity to rush you into making decisions that maybe in hindsight were not the best to make to close the deal,” Graham said, criticizing the administration’s decision to quickly dispose of bin Laden’s corpse.

“I thought that holding onto the body for a period of time to allow some independent analysis would help us make the case” that America really did kill bin Laden, he added.

Graham is among several Republican lawmakers calling on the administration to release photos of bin Laden’s body.