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Convert’s burial: PAS defends state govt

 | May 19, 2012

Penang PAS chief Mohd Salleh Man says all observances were marked in accordance to Islamic practice.

GEORGE TOWN: The Penang PAS commissioner has defended the state government over allegations that it failed to manage the issue of a Muslim convert’s burial in accordance to proper Islamic rites.

Mohd Salleh Man, who is also the Permatang Pasir state assemblyman and state Islamic Religious Council deputy chairman (MAIPP), said all observances were marked in accordance to Islamic practice.

The critics out there are simply politicising the issue, especially with the general election on the horizon, Salleh said when commenting on the drawn-out saga which began last Monday here.

A fisherman, who was also a businessman passed away suddenly last Monday from a heart attack but as his family in Ayer Itam were preparing for his burial, they were shocked to hear that the man had apparently converted after marrying an Indonesian woman in Medan.

The woman appointed her uncle, an Indonesian lawyer to act on her behalf, to ensure that her late husband was given a Muslim burial.

The lawyer contacted the state religious authorities and notified the family here besides providing documentation to prove the conversion.

Just when the council was negotiating the issue, it was leaked to several Muslim non-governmental organisations who staged a protest to reflect their displeasure over how the issue was managed.

The man was laid to rest early Friday, some four days later than the usual practice of burying him on the same day of his demise.

The outspoken former Penang PAS Youth head Mohamed Hafiz Nordin told journalists here that they were not blaming the family of the deceased, but the state religious authorities, especially state executive councillor Abdul Malik Abul Kassim, who is placed in charge of religious affairs here.

They should have informed the families that in the normal Muslim burial, the process to lay the deceased to rest takes place soonest.

There should not have been any delay during the negotiation, he said.

He also called for Salleh and Malik to resign from their posts in MAIPP as they have failed to uphold the virtues of Islam here.

Hafiz said both leaders also failed to consult the state mufti, who is the top cleric on Islamic jurisprudence.

Hafiz said nobody should supersede the role of a mufti when interpreting or resolving legal religious issues here.

‘He does not know the facts’

His statement was quickly met with a rebuke from his PAS leader, Salleh, who responded by saying that Hafiz does not know the facts.

His comrade Hafiz had failed to understand that in such a circumtances, the state need not refer to the mufti.

Furthermore, Salleh said the state religious affairs department officers were advising them on how best to address the issue.

It is a forgone conclusion that the fisherman would be buried as a Muslim as his family here had conceded that he has converted based on the documents provided to them, Salleh said.

He accused the NGOs of having a hidden political agenda by disclosing the issue through the media.

It is a deliberate attempt to mislead the Muslims here over the issue, Salleh said, adding that initially the matter was kept private as it was the wish of the deceased’s both families.

It should be a private issue out of respect for both families since death and the ensuing burial are sensitive issues for anyone.

In light of Hafiz’s outburst, Salleh said PAS, who is now conducting its branch-level meetings, has seen several resolutions passed on asking the party’s disciplinary board to investigate Hafiz.

“Hafiz seemed to have gone against the party’s policies. However all this are hearsay. We need evidence before any action can be meted.”

Salleh also warned PAS members to toe the line on party policies and do not work towards harming Pakatan Rakyat’s electoral chances.


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