The headquarters of a bizarre Malaysian cult built around a giant teapot was damaged by arsonists, a fireman said today, two weeks after the sect was raided by religious officials.
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Assailants armed with Molotov cocktails attacked the commune early this morning and set fire to structures there, The Star newspaper said in a text-message news service.
The sect, which believes the teapot has healing properties, is in Malaysia’s northeast – a strongly Muslim area that has suddenly lost patience with the sect.
“There has been a small fire,” firefighter Ahmad Fakarudin told Reuters, adding a car and the roof of a hall had been burnt.
“The roof of the teapot structure is also slightly charred but since it is made of concrete, the damage is not extensive,” Mr Ahmad said by telephone from Jertih, a town near the commune.
Police said there no reports of injuries.
“We can confirm that there have been two reports of some people that went inside, destroying certain monuments, structures, and replicas of buildings,” Hussin Ismail, chief of police in Terengganu state, told Reuters.
Mainly Muslim Malaysia has Islam as its state religion and tolerates other main religions, with large minorities of Christians, Hindus and Buddhists.
State religious authorities have outlawed the “Sky Kingdom” teapot sect as a deviant cult.
Its leader, Ayah Pin, claims to be divine and the “boss of all religions” according to a recent newspaper interview.
Religious officials raided the commune early this month and detained 21 followers, although Ayah Pin eluded arrest.