Friday, October 18, 2013

Parents fume over cow slaughter in school

Parents fume over cow slaughter in school

A primary school in Kuala Lumpur slaughtered a number of cows in its compound yesterday during school hours, prompting complaints of insensitivity by non-Muslim parents.

One parent, S Dineswary told Malaysiakini that according to her daughter, an adult cow and a calf were ceremonially slaughtered in the morning for a feast later that day in conjunction with Aidiladha celebrations.

She said non-Muslim students were asked to avoid the area whereas Muslim students were invited, but she believed some non-Muslim students might have inadvertently witnessed the slaughtering.

"It is not supposed to (happen) because this is a national school, not a religious school. That is why we were shocked, there are Hindus and Chinese (students) there.

"It is not only about religious issues, but also because there are children around. Some may be distressed by the slaughter," she said when contacted.

She added that she was taken aback by the cow sacrifice because Aidiladha was several days ago and there had been no prior notice.

When she and her daughter arrived at school yesterday and saw the cows in the compound, they thought they were lost and somehow found their way into the school.

"When the kids saw the cows, initially there were just excited about them, but they had no idea what was going to happen to them," she said.

Malaysiakini is withholding the name of the school pending their response.

Keep religion separate

Another individual, who is a grandparent to a student of the same school, claimed that the slaughter caused some panic amongst the students, while some teachers at the school who were Hindus objected.

"The cows started making noises and there were children there. By right, they shouldn't slaughter cows there - it shows no respect for the Hindus and the Chinese," he said.

He had requested anonymity, fearing that he would be targeted for harassment.

The grandparent stressed he was not seeking to get anyone in trouble, but hoped such incidents would not be repeated.

Meanwhile, Malaysiakini reader writing under the name ‘Saravanan Forever' said there were many such incidents in schools nationwide during Aidiladha.

"In Malaysia, the sekolah kebangsaan are national schools where multiracial children are studying and we should respect all races and religions...," he said.

Saravanan said school activities should be education-related, which slaughtering cows is not. He called on the Education Ministry to take action against the schools involved, and elected representatives to raise the matter in Parliament.

He also pointed out that slaughtering animals in schools is unhygienic and that cows are venerated by Hindus.

Recurring issue

A similar controversy took place at the Aidiladha celebrations two years ago, when the Malaysian Consultative Council for Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taosim (MCCBCHST) urged authorities to put a stop to the slaughtering in at least two schools.

The slaughter was cancelled due to inadequate facilities at the schools, but not before drawing flak from Perlis mufti Juanda Jaya and several Muslim NGOs.

"This is clearly directing the rituals of other religions. It is better not to interfere," said Juanda.

"If there is any unhappiness or disturbance, it is better to resolve it behind closed doors. Malaysians have achieved independence and lived peacefully for so long, so don't make it an issue," he said in a statement in November 2011.

Ritual slaughter normally takes place on mosque grounds, but sometimes is done at other locations due to lack of facilities, such as neighbourhood fields.

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