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M’sian Christian challenges Islamic authorities over dead wife’s faith January 4, 2008

Posted by beritaman in Uncategorized.
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A Christian husband of a dead Malaysian woman sought to
stop Islamic authorities on Thursday from giving her a Muslim funeral amid a
dispute over whether she converted to Islam before her death.

The case is the latest in a series of legal conflicts that have alarmed
Malaysia’s non-Muslim minorities, who have voiced growing fears that the
Constitution and courts fail to sufficiently safeguard their religious
rights.

Wong Sau Lan, 54, died in a Kuala Lumpur hospital Dec 30. Her husband, Ngiam
Tee Kong, received notice from the Federal Territory Islamic Council the
next day stating that his wife had converted to Islam on Dec 24, said Mr
Ngiam’s lawyer, Karpal Singh.

When Mr Ngiam later tried to claim her body from the hospital morgue, he was
told it would have to be buried by the Islamic Council according to Muslim
rites, Mr Karpal said.

The Kuala Lumpur High Court was scheduled to hear Mr Ngiam’s petition later
on Thursday for a temporary order to prevent the Islamic Council from taking
possession of his wife’s body.

The order would enable the court to hold hearings to determine what should
be done. Mr Ngiam claims Ms Wong remained a Christian at her death and that
any conversion was legally invalid.

‘There was no lawful conversion,’ Mr Karpal said.

Other details of the case, including how the alleged conversion occurred,
were not immediately clear. Islamic Council and hospital officials familiar
with the case could not immediately be contacted. — AP

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