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David Kelly to be buried on Wednesday

31.07.2003 4.25 pm By MATTHEW BEARD

Dr David Kelly will be buried next Wednesday in a private Anglican ceremony incorporating prayers from his pacifist Bahai faith.

The service will be held at 2pm at St Mary's Church in the village of Longworth, Oxfordshire, two miles from his home in Southmoor. The Rev Roy Woodhams will conduct an Anglican service to be attended by close friends and family.

Dr Kelly, who was found with his wrist slashed at Harrowdown Hill, Longworth, on 18 July, was a convert to the Bahai religion, which has 6,000 followers in the UK and five million worldwide.

After discussions with local Bahai members Dr Kelly's family have agreed to include two of their prayers in the service. They will be taken from the English version of the writings of Bahaullah, who founded the faith in the 19th century and his son Abdul Baha.

Barnabus Leith, the Bahai leader for Abingdon, said: "Dr Kelly's family are organising the service to reflect his life and interests. Our local members have been speaking with them and there will be one or two Bahai prayers included."

Mr Leith said that Bahai followers were expected to be involved in prayer sessions, fasting and meditation but stressed that there was no clergy or sacraments and little ritual. According to one guide to the religion rituals "can easily denigrate and become meaningless".

Dr Kelly, 59, converted to Bahai four years ago during a business trip to the United States. Bahai is an amalgam of major faiths that incorporates Muslim, Christian and Jewish theology. Its worldwide headquarters is in Haifa, Israel, where its founder Bahaullah died.

A Thames Valley Police spokesman said Dr Kelly's family wished the funeral to be a "dignified and private affair" with strict limitations on media attendance.

He added: "Thames Valley Police would ask the media to respect the wishes of the family and not to try and attend the funeral or obtain shots of the family on their journey to and from St Mary's Church whether from the roadside or from the air."

©Copyright 2003, The New Zealand Herald (New Zealand)

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