Sadly there is another 'Mt Everest' tussle over a dead body as Muslims and Christians fight over the corpse of Rayappan Anthony.
His family claimed that he was a Catholic all his life except for six years, when he had converted to Islam after marrying his second wife. They said Anthony had married his second wife in 1990 and his family knew about this. He had also left the family in order to be with his Muslim wife.
But six years later, in 1996, he returned to his first wife Lourdes Mary and entered a deed poll with the National Registration Department.
His family showed reporters documents to prove that the deceased’s name was changed from Muhammad Rayappan Abdullah back to his original name and that he had returned to being a Catholic. The documents were signed in the presence of a Commissioner of Oaths.
However, Jawi officers arrived at the hospital yesterday claiming that Anthony was still a Muslim and that he should be buried according to Islamic rites.
They showed the family members a card that certified he is a Muslim convert but this was only issued in 2005.
Me, what do I think? I am going to blame the deceased for causing his family much grief in this fashion by switching religions and not making clear what religion he was practising prior to his death.
As for the two groups of antagonists, let me relate what Lao Tze said about a corpse. Lao Tze was reputed to be the founder of Taoism. When asked how he wanted his remains to be interred, apparently he said (words to the effect): “If you bury me, the maggots will get me; if you leave me in the open, the vulture will benefit. What difference would it make to me?”
Nicely said, Lao Tze! Maybe there is moral lesson somewhere in his statement.