Malaysian Opposition Calls For End To 'Body-Snatching'
In the most recent case, an elderly ethnic Chinese man was buried as a Muslim last week after his Buddhist family lost a battle with Islamic authorities who said he had converted.
"The spate of 'body-snatching' cases is a blot to Malaysia's international reputation for inter-faith understanding, goodwill and co-operation," Lim Kit Siang from the Democratic Action Party said.
He accused the government of "an unprecedented and lengthening catalogue of incidents aggravating religious polarisation."
And he called on Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to end the practice immediately to prove it is not condoned by the progressive form of Islam that his government promotes.
Police seized the body of Gan Eng For, who died a week ago aged 74, after his oldest son - himself a Muslim convert - said he had switched to the religion last year.
Other family members said Gan could not have converted because he was senile and paralysed after suffering two strokes.
"He could not even move his arms or talk," his other son, 42-year-old Gan Hock Sin, said.
"It is shocking that Islamic authorities say he recited some Islamic words when he was being converted last year."
The dispute came shortly after a court ordered a Christian woman's body be returned to her family after Islamic authorities admitted she had not converted.
In many instances the row is decided by Islamic Sharia courts where non-Muslim family members argue that they do not get a fair hearing.
The cases have fed accusations over the growing "Islamisation" of Malaysia, where the population is dominated by Muslim Malays living alongside ethnic Chinese and Indian communities. (ABC News)
***** The spate of such cases has definitely put Malaysia in the spotlight and has damaged our reputation internationally. With government policies over the past four decades having resulted in serious racial polarisation, we, the citizens can ill afford religious discordance as well.
Umno has overseen the almost total ruination of the inter-racial unity which once existed and for us to allow them the continued opportunity to wreck our already fragile perpaduan through undisguised attempts to Islamise the nation, would be a highly irresponsible abdication of our duties as loyal Malaysians. We owe it to our country to boot out extremists, especially those masquerading in democratic clothing. The alternative would be to end up like Fiji, a hotbed of inter-tribal and inter-ethnic violence and an economic basket case.
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