Religious fanatics who wreck lives


The case of a 14-year old who drank coffee laced with paraquat because he did not want to be traumatised by religious missionaries again. 

Mariam Mokhtar, FMT

Muslim fundamentalism, if left unchecked, will have tragic consequences on families and communities. Will religious zealots understand that their actions wreck families and split-up communities?

Religious fanaticism destroys peaceful co-existence and has the potential to destabilise a nation. Will Islamic fanatics give up only when they have killed everyone?

One month ago, G Thiyaggurudeen alleged that his teachers had forced him to drink “air penawar” (holy water), before he was indoctrinated by religious missionaries, and coerced into making a police report against his father.

Yesterday, the 14-year-old drank coffee laced with paraquat, because he did not want to be traumatised by the religious missionaries, again.

The teenager’s ordeal started at the beginning of the school year, when his father S. Ganesan requested that his son not attend Islamic Studies classes at his school, near Port Dickson. Ganesan, a Hindu, had been unsuccessful in his attempts to change his son’s religion, on the MyKad, from Islam to Hindu.

Ganesan, is a Hindu, who converted to Islam when he married a Muslim in 1982. His second wife, the mother of his teenage son, is an Indonesian Muslim. He has since divorced her.

Ganesan successfully applied to be an apostate, in 1987, but his son was not so lucky. The teenager has had no end of problems with his birth certificate and identity card. Despite approaching the Syariah court, to change the religious status on his son’s MyKad, Ganesan was informed that he could only do this, when his son reached 18. He would then have to seek his son’s consent to amend the MyKad details.

Last February, soon after Ganesan’s request that his son, Thiyaggurudeen be excluded from Islamic Studies class, the teenager alleged that two Muslim teachers had taken him to a missionary centre in Negeri Sembilan, where he received an indoctrination which lasted a few hours. He alleged that his captors were state religious department officials.

A tip-off, by a security guard at his son’s school, enabled Ganesan to rescue his son. Earlier that day, it was also alleged that two teachers at his son’s school, had forced Thiyaggurudeen to lodge a police report against his father. They also claimed that Ganesan had been guilty of abusing his son, over the past three years.

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