KUALA TERENGGANU, July 23: More than 1,000 followers of the deviationist “Sky Kingdom” sect are residing in the State.
Spot The Diff Contest State Islam Hadhari Development Committee deputy chairman Muhammad Ramli Nuh said the State Religious Affairs Department was tracking down the followers.
“Once identified, they would be persuaded to return to the right path or attend rehabilitation courses.
“We know it is not a localised sect since followers from other states visit the Sky Kingdom commune regularly.”
He said religious departments in all states were on the lookout for the followers.
Asked whether the 49 followers who were charged at the Besut Syariah Lower court on Thursday for their association with Ariffin Mohamad, better known as “Ayah Pin”, would undergo faith rehabilitation, he said it was up to the court.
“The prosecuting officer can ask the judge to make it mandatory for them to undergo rehabilitation instead of serving a jail sentence,” he said.
The State religious authorities had outlawed the Sky Kingdom cult and Ariffin was jailed 11 months in June 2001 for humiliating Islamic teachings.
About 1,000 of his followers were sent for rehabilitation in the same year.
Meanwhile, State Religious Affairs Department commissioner Shaikh Harun Ismail said the department had sought the assistance of the State Welfare Department to care for the 10 children said to be still staying in the commune.
“The department will ensure that food and other necessities are provided,” he said.
The headquarters of the cult is located on a 2.4ha site in Kampung Batu 13, Hulu Besut.