Religion and Spirituality

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Malaysian Woman Jailed for ‘Teapot Worship’

March 05, 2008 05:43 PM
by findingDulcinea Staff
Schoolteacher Kamariah Ali was sentenced to two years in prison for apostasy after she renounced Islam to join a cult that worships a giant teapot.

30-Second Summary

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Ali is not only a member of the Malaysian religious group the Sky Kingdom, she is also an ethnic Malay, a group the federal constitution defines as Muslim.

Although the constitution of Malaysia, where Islam is the state religion, guarantees religious freedom, one of its articles puts religious matters under the jurisdiction of individual states.

Because the government generally avoids religious issues, they are left to Islamic courts that often penalize those who leave the Islamic faith.

Ali was arrested in July 2005 and charged with apostasy after she joined the Sky Kingdom sect. She received a two-year jail sentence, which she began on March 4.

“What she did was not within the concept of freedom of religion,” Judge Mohamad Abdullah said, according to Al-Arabiya.

The leader of the Sky Kingdom, Ayah Pin, claims to be both the savior of the world and the owner of everything.

Members of the group worship a giant teapot that symbolizes “the pouring out of peace and blessings of the Sky on humanity,” according to Web site AsiaNews.

The sect owns an amusement park in the largely ethnic Malay state of Terengganu, which has a giant teapot as its centerpiece. The park was the target of arsonists in July 2005.

Headline Links: Malaysian woman convicted of apostasy for joining teapot cult

Background: The Sky Kingdom

Historical Context: The role of Islam in Malaysia

Reference: Malaysia facts and figures

Related Topic: ‘Saudi “Witch” to be Beheaded’

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