Tuesday 2 June 2009

Family fights for right to cremate ‘converted’ Malaysian-Sikh



malayKuala Lumpur, Malaysia: An ethnic Indian family is fighting with Islamic authorities in Malaysia for claiming the body of a Sikh art director who allegedly converted to Islam 17 years ago

The family’s lawyer said that religious authorities insisted Mohan Singh, a 41-year-old art director who died of a heart attack last Monday, had died a Muslim — a claim the family disputes.

His body has been kept at the mortuary of a government hospital in central Selangor state which has refused to release the remains to the family, lawyer Rajesh Kumar told AFP.

“When he died, he was a practising Sikh, he never told anybody and nobody knew that he had converted to Islam, including family and close friends. His identification card to date stated that he is still a non-Muslim,” Kumar said.

“The family is very upset. All they want is to claim the body and cremate him according to the Sikh rites,” he added.

The lawyer said that the Islamic authorities claimed Mohan, who had directed some local films, had converted to Islam in 1992 and was seeking confirmation of his conversion from an Islamic sharia court.

“Our contention is that at the time of his death, he was still practising Sikhism and even when his mother died three years ago, he performed the last rites for the mother according to the Sikh faith,” said Kumar.

“He wouldn’t be able to do so if he is a Muslim,” he said. The lawyer claimed that Mohan Singh was a practising Sikh and had gone to a Sikh temple with his sister recently.

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