by Elizabeth Zachariah and Yiswaree Palansamy
The Malaysian Insider
October 22, 2013
Muslim MPs from PAS and PKR as well as educational organisations have spoken out against the practice of carrying out ritual slaughter in schools during the recent Hari Raya Aidiladha celebrations.
PAS Kuala Krai MP Dr Mohd Hatta Ramli said any school should be off limits for the slaughter of animals.
“Be it religious schools, ethnic-based schools or national schools,” said Dr Hatta.
“In the truest nature of observing the holy Qurban, there is no need to openly slaughter animals in the presence of others, especially in an area where people of other faith reside, work or carry out activities,” he added, referring to the Arabic word for sacrificial slaughter.
“The deed is to be noted between the Almighty and oneself and not with the public.”
Dr Hatta pointed out that nowadays, some have resorted to carrying out animal slaughter in abbatoirs as they are more hygienic and systematic.
PKR Indera Mahkota MP Datuk Fauzi Abdul Rahman said the Quran stresses the need to respect other religions.
PAS Shah Alam MP Khalid Samad, however, expressed shock that such events are being held in school compounds.
“In my time this was quite unheard of. It is not right,” he said.
Khalid suggested that the slaughter of animals be carried out in mosque compounds or other proper designated places.
The comments come after several Hindu parents complained about the use of school grounds to slaughter cows in conjunction with Hari Raya Aidiladha celebrations. The cow is considered sacred by Hindus.
It was reported that parent S. Dineswary was told by her daughter that a cow and a calf were slaughtered last Thursday for a Hari Raya feast at a Kuala Lumpur school. Similar events were held at schools in Bandar Baru Bangi and Puchong.
National Parent-Teacher Association Collaborative Council president Datuk Mohd Ali Hassan said Muslim authorities in schools should understand the religious practices of non-Muslim students.
“They cannot openly do things that can hurt the feelings of others but instead, they should find ways to do things discreetly, if what they want to do is deemed sensitive by other faiths,” he said.
“The school is a place to teach and learn. Not for anything else,” Mohd Ali added.
President of the National Union of the Teaching Profession (NUTP), Hashim Adnan said “it was not a nice thing to happen in schools”.
“If the school only has Muslim students, then there is no problem. But if there are Indians and Chinese, their feelings must be taken into consideration too.
“We should respect those who study in the same compound and we just cannot do things as we wish,” he said.
Non-Muslims, he said, would only respect Islam if the Muslims also respect their beliefs and are sensitive to them.
“The cow is sacred to the Hindus. Why was it so important to slaughter it in the schools for all to see?
“Why would non-Muslims come and study in national schools if these things keep happening?” Hashim lamented.
Meanwhile, Malaysia Hindu Sangam president Datuk R. S. Mohan Shan stressed that they were not against the ritual of slaughtering cows, but added that it sould have been carried out elsewhere.
“We are not questioning the slaughter itself as we respect Islam. We don’t mind they want to slaughter cows in mosques and suraus but not in schools, in front of non-Muslims students,” he said.
He revealed that he had received many complaints from Hindu parents over the years and has written to the Education Ministry many times on the matter.
“But till today there has been no reply or action from them. We are very disappointed with this and the statements made by some parties are equally disturbing,” he added.
He was referring to Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia’s deputy president Aminuddin Yahaya, who defended the practice of slaughtering animals on school compound.
“Why should we bow to pressure from them (Hindus)? It is as if we do not have our own identity. This is our country and it is an Islamic country,” he was quoted as saying by a news portal.
“We want to slaughter cows, who cares? What is the percentage of the Indian community in Malaysia? Only 1% or 2%,” said Aminuddin. – October 22, 2013.