BESUT, July 21: The clamour to take action against them grows louder every day, but 49 members of the Sky Kingdom sect of Ariffin Mohamad, a.k.a “Ayah Pin”, have denied that they are deviationists.
They pleaded not guilty in the Syariah Lower Court today.
They were among 58 people, including three babies, picked up by state Religious Affairs Department officers in a joint operation with police at the commune at Kampung Batu 13 in Hulu Besut.
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The court released six followers, five because they were underage and New Zealander Judith Lilian MacDonald, 54, because she was born a Christian.
The others were charged under Section 10 of the Syariah Criminal Offence Enactment (Takzir) 2001 for not adhering to the state fatwa which had ruled that Ariffin’s teachings were deviant.
The punishment on conviction is a jail term of up to two years or a fine not exceeding RM3,000 or both.
All the detainees were denied bail after Syariah prosecuting officer Mustafa Hamzah told judge Wan Abdul Malik Wan Sidik the detainees would try to jump bail if released.
Mustafa also said that if released, the detainees could threaten witnesses.
Wan Malik ordered all detainees to be placed under police supervision.
Wan Malik advised the detainees to appoint lawyers to defend them when the case is brought for mention on July 28.
MacDonald said later that she would return to Indonesia.