In Malaysia, the people of ‘faith’ are quarelling over dead bodies. The Muslim religious authorities seek ownership of a body they claim is Muslim when all evidence on oath points to the contrary. It is an interesting case for the international community to follow. In Malaysia today, Muslims are governed by Islamic/Syariah law and non-Muslims are governed by civil law. The Rayappan case that is pending now is an ill conceived attempt to impose Islamic/syariah law on non-Muslims and so gain control and further jurisdiction over them. These religious authorities are attempting to promote their belief system through coercion, manipulation and intimidation.
I wrote this poem some years back, upon my own conversion to Christianity from Hinduism. I sympathise with Rayappan’s family and applaud the courage of his daughters to stand up for their faith and their father. The Bible often states that we are to let God be the judge of the earth. May the true God intervene in this case.
Anak perempuan / Daughter of /Abraham
I anak perempuan or Daughter of, lie wastefully dead in Malaysia. The ashes of my cremation, this temple of hell and damnation, reaches like a black boot to blemish the face of a good God. I am not allowed there to plead for life or liberty. But there is all that man can do. Stack some wood and kerosene against me. Pierce the clay urn that holds me. The ashes scattered there wash up alive on American soil, here a good God breathes life upon these charred dead bones. I anak perempuan or Daughter of, flourish like the leaves of grass, here. There in temples and traditions, they wash their feet, bequeath watery footsteps on the marble floor, bid me follow or else; the details of their gods, sacrifices and pilgrimages escape me, as I leave the land. Here in America, I anak perempuan or Daughter of trust in the good God who carries me into exile for citizenship and a far better country. In Him, I draw my living breath, and each day, I anak perempuan or Daughter of Abraham begin again.
(C)2004Anushka Anastasia Solomon.