Ayah Pin may be home from self-exile

TUMPAT, Sun. – “Sky Kingdom” leader Ayah Pin or Ariffin Mohammad, who fled to Thailand after a mob attacked his commune in July, may be back in the country.

He was in southern Thailand for more than a month of self-exile.

Ariffin may have been spotted having a meal with two friends at a restaurant in Wakaf Baru about 3.30pm, soon after entering the country through Pengkalan Kubur today.

A patron at the restaurant, who recognised the cult leader, took several pictures of the group with his camera handphone.

“I am positive it was him. I have seen enough of his pictures in the newpapers and his VCDs to recognise him,” he told New Straits Times reporters who stopped at the same place a few minutes later.

He said the three men left in a car, heading in the direction of Simpangan here, where three of his four wives were arrested on July 31.

Ariffin has been on the run from the authorities since July 20, when his commune was attacked by a group of about 50 people and several buildings were torched.

It is understood that he then came here before crossing over to Tak Bai to stay with friends.

He was reported to be in Yala with his son at the house of a Buddhist since early this month.

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

Security sources, meanwhile, confirmed that Ariffin had returned to the country today.

“It seems he is missing his friends and family members here. Police are monitoring his movements and expect to arrest him anytime,” said the sources.

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(Listed if other than Religion News Blog, or if not shown above)
New Straits Times, Malasia
Serp. 19, 2005

Religion News Blog posted this on Monday September 19, 2005.
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