More Than 1,000 Ayah Pin Followers To Be Rehabilitated

BESUT, Aug 6 (Bernama) — Terengganu religious authorities will enlist as many government agencies as necessary to rehabilitate the Islamic faith of more than 1,000 followers of the Ayah Pin “Sky Kingdom” cult.

State Islam Hadhari Development Committee chairman Wan Mohd Wan Hassan said the agencies would include the Education Department, State Security Committee, Community Development Department (Kemas) and district office.

He said the task could be difficult and take a long time since some of the Ayah Pin followers joined the cult 30 to 40 years ago.

“It will not be easy to rehabilitate them as some have no knowledge of Islam but this can be achieved because we know the right approach,” he told reporters at the launch of the state-level Kembara Merdeka Jalur Gemilang (Flying The Flag Merdeka Tour) at Kampung Beting Lintang here Saturday.

Deputy Minister of Human Resources Datuk Abdul Rahman Bakar launched the flag tour which is organised by the Information Department and had started in Kelantan.

Sky Kingdom

The Sky Kingdom is a quasi-religious interfaith commune located in the eastern Malaysian state of Terengganu.

While Malaysia has a secular legal system, the country is ruled by a moderate Muslim majority.

“Muslims in Malaysia come under the purview of religious courts that are not part of the secular federal legal system. Any attempt to deviate from Islamic teachings, or to leave the religion, can bring harsh penalties from the religious courts.” [Source]

Sky Kingdom leader Ayah Pin claims to be a deity

The group includes former Muslims

Wan Mohd said the religious authorities would use explanation, discussion and other suitable approaches.

About 1,000 of the cult members had lived at their commune in Hulu Besut for more than 30 years.

The Terengganu Religious Department recently broke up the cult, arresting dozens of followers and demolishing structures in the commune said to have been erected illegally.

Their leader Ayah Pin, whose real name is Ariffin Mohamad, 65, has gone into hiding.

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Bernama, Malasia
Aug. 6, 2005

Religion News Blog posted this on Saturday August 6, 2005.
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