KUALA LUMPUR, May 20 — The Johor Religious Department today directed the authorities to bury the Ulu Tiram police station attacker in isolation while preparation for his burial and prayers must only be done at home among his family members.

The directive is meant to act as a warning and a “reminder”, the department said in a stern statement that also declared the two policemen killed by the suspect to be martyrs (syahid) who died while serving their country.

A Muslim burial is typically a communal affair and prayers for the deceased’s body are usually done at the nearest mosque or surau near the burial ground. The department’s fatwa committee barred all mosques or surau in the state from performing prayers and burial rituals for the attacker, a move that is meant to ostracise the family as a form of punishment.

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“For the handling of the suspect’s body, the fatwa committee has decided that it would be cleansed, shrouded and prayed for at either the hospital or the suspect’s family home only. The suspect’s body is prohibited from being brought to any mosques or surau for the said ritual,” it said.

“Once the body has been cleansed, shrouded and prayed for, the body must then be buried at a certain burial ground where his grave is placed further away from others’,” the department added.

“The committee thinks that this must serve as a reminder for the public not to be involved or do what the suspect did. It is also meant as a way to send a clear message that we detest the heinous act of the suspect, including the murder of two police officers who served to protect the country.”

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The police initially believed the attack may have been a form of terrorism but later said the suspect was not linked to any terror groups, even as his father was known to be a former member of Jemaah Islamiyah.

In a press conference at the Johor Police Contingent Headquarters two days ago, Home Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail stated that the 21-year-old man had acted alone.

The suspect was said to have entered the Ulu Tiram police station at 2.45am on May 16 armed with a machete. Two police officers, Constable Ahmad Azza Fahmi Azhar, 22, and Constable Muhamad Syafiq Ahmad Said, 24, were killed after being attacked by a man wielding a machete. Corporal Mohd Hasif Roslan, 38, was injured by a gunshot.

The Johor Religious Department said the death of the two officers are considered Fi Sabilillah, a term for those dying in the course of serving God.

Muslims believe martyrs who are killed serving the faith and God are guaranteed a place in heaven.