Woman had renounced Islam, officer tells court

KUALA TERENGGANU: A Sky Kingdom sect follower told a Syariah official last year that she had made a declaration renouncing Islam here in 1989.

Syariah assistant officer Abdul Rahman Abdullah said 54-year-old Kamariah Ali, told the Syariah Lower Court in Besut that she was no longer a Muslim when pleading not guilty to a charge.

At that time, Kamariah, a graduate from Egypt’s Al-Azhar University, was charged with more than 40 people for not complying with a state fatwa (edict) declaring the Sky Kingdom teachings as deviant.

Abdul Rahman said Kamariah said she made the declaration at the Syariah Court here in 1989.

Sky Kingdom

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

Malaysia demolished the commune in August, 2005

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

Abdul Rahman, who registers cases and keeps records at the Syariah Lower Court in Besut, was the prosecution’s fourth and last witness in the trial involving Kamariah.

Kamariah had been charged under Section 7 of the Syariah Criminal Offence Enactment (Takzir) Terengganu 2001 for uttering that that she was no longer a Muslim at the court to escape punishment under Section 10 of the enactment.

If convicted of the offence under Section 7, she could be fined up to RM5,000 or jailed three years, or both.

On another accused New Zealander Judith Lilian McDonald, Abdul Rahman said the Syariah Lower Court dropped the Section 10 charge against her after she claimed that she did not convert to Islam in Malaysia.

Abdul Rahman said McDonald told the court that she converted to Islam in Indonesia after marrying a Muslim in the country.

“She said she was raised as a Christian and although she converted to Islam, she had left the religion in her heart a long time ago,” he added.

He said chief syarie prosecutor Mustafar Hamzah had then applied to the court to drop the charges against McDonald.

Earlier, a National Registration Department officer in Kelantan, Wan Mohamad Wan Yaakob, produced an extract of a registration document stating that Kamariah was a Muslim.

Judge Mohamad Abdullah fixed June 13 for submission.

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(Listed if other than Religion News Blog, or if not shown above)
The Star, Malasia
Apr. 4, 2006

Religion News Blog posted this on Tuesday April 4, 2006.
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