Sky Kingdom: Apostasy claim ‘to avoid penalty’

KUALA TERENGGANU: A follower of cult leader Ariffin Mohamad, a.k.a ‘Ayah Pin’, had declared herself an apostate to escape punishment.

Prosecutor Mustafar Hamzah said this in his closing arguments at the Syariah High Court yesterday in the trial of Kamariah Ali, 54, who was charged under Section 7 of the Syariah Criminal Offences Enactment (Takzir) (Terengganu) 2001 for claiming she was not a Muslim.

The offence carries a fine of RM5,000 or three years’ jail or both upon conviction.

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

Mustafar said Kamariah had claimed she was an apostate after another follower of the Sky Kingdom deviationist sect, New Zealander Judith Lilian, was not charged for the same offence when she said that she was not a Muslim.

He said Kamariah’s identity card showed that she was a Muslim when she declared herself an apostate at the Besut Syariah Court after her arrest in July last year.

Mustafar said two prosecution witnesses, Syariah enforcement officer Yussof Salleh and Besut Syariah court registrar Wan Mohd Wan Yaakob were certain that the apostasy declaration was made after Lilian said she was not a Muslim.

He said that there was no evidence to support the apostasy claim by Kamariah, a former al-Azhar University graduate and religious teacher.

Kamariah was represented by Saadiah Din. Judge Mohamad Abdullah fixed August 20 for judgment.

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(Listed if other than Religion News Blog, or if not shown above)
New Straits Times, Malasia
June 21, 2006

Religion News Blog posted this on Wednesday June 21, 2006.
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