Islamic council’s decision to bury Batek raises questions

Islamic council’s decision to bury Batek raises questions

PUCHONG: A Twitter user questioned the action of the Kelantan Islamic Council (Maik) in reaching the decision to bury 15 Batek people who died in Kuala Koh, Gua Musang, Kelantan in a single grave.  The decision was made after all the 15 were determined to be Muslims.

The question was raised since the native community had a custom of burying their dead on the trees.

“Recently there was an article about the customs of the community that buries the bodies on the trees.  It was claimed that that the concept of such burials is taboo,” said Twitter user Juana Jaafar.

“Now the bones from the bodies are brought down from the trees and given to the government to be buried according to Islam. It is akin to how the outside world imposing its ways,” she said.

All 15 were part of the large number of Batek people who died mysteriously before the government stepped in and determined the cause of death to be measles.

Juana bemoaned the fate of the Orang Asli tribe.

“The Orang Asli are pitiful. They were converted by the government. Their village name was added with the name “Islam”.  Then the community is abandoned. 

“The mining and logging companies are allowed to destroy their livelihood.

“After the (the Orang Asli) deaths, their bodies are brought down and they are powerless to practice their own customs.”

Islamic Renaissance Front director Dr Ahmad Farouk Musa explained that the burial of the 15 in a single grave is because the dead are considered as martyrs in Islam.

“Martyrs were buried in one hole.”

He also admitted that the religious agencies have not been doing their jobs in proselytizing Islam to the Orang Asli community.

“That’s the usual case. They just don’t care,” he said in response to the council that has suddenly appeared pro-active in going after the dead instead of caring for the living.

Read Also: Death of the Bateq people: We have blood in our hands

Health Ministry to locate Orang Asli graves Kampung Kuala Koh

By K Pragalath