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Malaysia: Islamic burial of ethnic Indian

The recent controversy over “forced” burial of a Malaysia Everest mountain climber M. Moorthy in accordance to Islamic rites, in which the decision was disputed by Moorthy's family, has stir discussion among public.

Earlier, Moorthy's widow Kaliammal Sinnasamy was seeking to declare that her late husband was a Hindu who practised the Hindu way of life prior to his death and never mention one single word of his purported conversion to her or her relatives. Subsequently, she filed a civil action in the High Court, only to be ruled out later the court will not disturb declaration that Moorthy was a Muslim because the matter was under the jurisdiction of Syariah Court. Only Moorthy's brother who is also a Muslim convert and the only family member that attend the funeral.

Majority of Malaysian public believes converts have the moral obligation to inform family especially if they were married and had children, where International Movement for a Just World President Dr. Chandra Muzaffar proposed a clause be included in the conversion certificate of the new Muslim that he would undertake to tell the family while Malaysia Human Rights Commission chairman Abu Talib Othman said the civil court should not have avoided the issue by merely ruling that Moorthy conversion to Islam came under the jurisdiction of the Syariah court.

[…] “The civil court should have considered the constitutionality of the amendment to the Federal Constitution, which was presented by the Government and passed by Parliament, and decide whether it is constitutional or not. Because in the matter of constitutionality, the civil court is competent.” […]

Also, the commision does not interfere interfere on matters that have been decided by the courts, however the commission could probe whether human rights principles have been violated in this case, if the family lodge a report with commision.

Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Nazri Aziz too spoke the need for a ‘better way’ to settle Islamic matters affecting non-Muslims and said that when there was a dispute over conversions, the case should be heard in a civil court where all sides can be represented while Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism and Sikhism feels that a subsection of the Federal Constitution should be repealed to make it clear that the Syariah Court has no jurisdiction to hear matters involving non-Muslims.

Politics 101 Malaysia
believes the case which started off as a legal wrangle and progressed into a constitutional crisis, needs a political solution while Maobi dedicated a blogwatch on this case.

Malaysia Opposition Leader and blogger Lim Kit Siang will convene a parliamentary roundtable in Parliament this coming Thursday (5th Jan 2006) on what what Parliament could do to rectify the injustices emanating from Malaysia Federal Constitution Article 121(1A), where non-Muslims have no remedy in any court where their rights have been adversely affected by syariah court decisions.

So far, only the Senators Club has asked media to stop reporting on the controversy.

5 comments

  • […] (Repost of my entry at Global Voices Online) […]

  • […] (Repost of my entry at Global Voices Online) […]

  • […] The Islamic burial of a Malaysian of Indian ethnicity has created a controversy in Malaysia. Global Voices Online has detailed coverage. […]

  • Ibn Adam

    Why the fear of honoring a man’s reversion to Islam? This is a matter between him and Allah. Freedom of Religion. Peace

  • Sunny

    This only happened because so-called “Malaysian Indians” are Hindus originally from Tamilnad who have poor knowledge of their religion and have been left behind economically. Some of this may also be due to the fact that the majority are from Harijan background. They are also sometimes attracted by the prospect of advancement if they become “Malays” by converting to Islam. That is not to say that Malaysians of North Indian heritage or Chinese heritage do not convert to islam. A few do – usually to marry a Muslim. Converts are not told to consider that Islam is a one way door — that there is no out! The answer is for the Hindus to educate their followers.

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