Malaysian Christian Challenges Islamic Authorities over Dead Wife's Faith

January 3, 2008

Author: Staff Writer

Source: AOL News

Wire Service: AP

The Christian husband of a dead Malaysian woman sought to stop Islamic authorities 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 Ngiam's lawyer, Karpal Singh.

When 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, Karpal said.