Monday, January 21, 2008

Body Snatchers Redux

There have been several cases in Malaysia where the Islamic authorities have confiscated the bodies of people who have died after relatives/friends/the department itself claimed that the deceased have converted to Islam. Very often these 'conversions' are secret and the poor family members are in the dark. I had highlighted one case last year, on Anthony Rayappan, a Catholic who had converted to Islam and reverted to Catholicism who had his body snatched for Muslim burial upon his death.

As we all know, conversion of Islam is a one way street, the only exit being death, natural or by stoning. Now another case has surfaced, of a man allegedly converting to Islam during his illness, without his family, even his caregivers' knowledge and having his body snatched upon his death.

Here's the news article:

Eldest son claims dead father was a Muslim

SEREMBAN: Police yesterday took away the remains of a 74-year-old man from a Chinese funeral parlour near here after his eldest son claimed that the deceased was a Muslim.

Abdul Rahman Gan Abdullah, 47, who had embraced Islam several years ago, lodged a report at the Seremban 2 police station claiming that his father, Gan Eng Gor, had converted to Islam on July 3 last year and had taken the name Amir Gan Abdullah.

When met at the funeral parlour, one of Eng Gor’s eight other children, Hock Sin, said the family was shocked to hear of this.

“When my father died this morning in Klang, I called to inform Abdul Rahman as he was the eldest. The entire family is shocked at his claim.

“We have been practising Buddhists all our lives. How is it that none of us, including my mother who has been looking after my sick father for the past two years, has no knowledge of this?” asked Hock Sin.

Temiang assemblyman Datuk Tiger Lee Yuen Fong and Rahang asemblyman Datuk Yip Chee Kiong, who were at the funeral parlour, appealed to all parties to remain calm and allow the authorities to assess the situation.

They also spoke with Eng Gor’s widow, Chua Chun, 65.

Hock Sin said it was not possible for his father to have embraced Islam as he had been bedridden for the past two years after suffering a stroke.

“He could not talk, so how was it possible that he converted?”

State Islamic Affairs assistant director Mohd Yusof Tahir, who arrived at the funeral parlour later, produced copies of a certificate and a card from the department which stated that Eng Gor had embraced Islam on July 3 last year.

Abdul Rahman was not present.

Speaking to reporters later, Mohd Yusof said the matter would be heard before the Syariah Court today.

Lee told reporters that the MCA would help appoint a counsel for the aggrieved family.

Eng Gor’s remains are being kept at the Tuanku Jaafar Hospital mortuary.

Do pray for the poor and distraught family. And remember, friends don't let friends convert to Islam.

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