Although the 65-year-old cult leader made an oral and written declaration that he was no longer a Muslim in 2001, he recanted after spending 11 months in prison, said the department’s commissioner, Shaikh Harun Ismail.
Ariffin was imprisoned in 2001 on charges of humiliating Islamic teachings.
Shaikh Harun said on the basis that he was a Muslim, his teachings were deviant.
“When Ariffin is caught, he will be charged under the Terengganu Syariah Criminal Offence Enactment (Takzir) 2001,” Shaikh Harun said.
“Detaining his followers and charging them in court will not solve anything.
“As long as Ariffin is still at large, he will be a threat to the people.
“He will continue to spread his teachings.”
Ariffin is believed to have been spreading his teachings since 1975 at the “Sky Kingdom” commune at Kampung Batu 13 in Hulu Besut.
He is known by his followers as the king of the skies.
Yesterday, 49 followers of the Sky Kingdom sect were charged at the Besut Syariah Lower court for their involvement in Ariffin’s teachings. They pleaded not guilty.
On Monday, a mob torched some structures and damaged vehicles and wooden houses at the commune.