While Malaysia has a secular legal system, the country is ruled by a moderate Muslim majority. And the government is not amused by Pin's movement and claims.
The group has drawn the ire
of religiously conservative elements of Malaysian society. Officials from the fundamentalist Islamic Party of Malaysia tried to close the commune in 2000, while the party governed the state, by saying it was an illegal use of the land. They eventually backed off, in part because many landholders in Malaysia do not follow regulations on land use.
Ayah Pin's claims of being a deity fly in the face of Islamic teaching.
For most followers, this means having to lead a double life. 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.
Families also typically reject apostates
Four members of the Ayah Pin group decided in 1998 to publicly renounce their Islamic faith. That led to their arrest, and they served two years in jail, much of it in solitary confinement.
Lawyers for the four are trying to use the case as a test of Malaysia's constitutionally guaranteed religious freedoms, in particular, the freedom of people to leave the faith they were raised in.
In 2001, Pin was jailed for 11 months and was made to pay a fine for "humilating Islamic teaching." Indeed, "[t]he Government had said the teachings of Ayah Pin were dangerous to the Muslim community since the group members declared themselves as apostates." (Source)
In May, 2005, the government ordered Pin and his followers to demolish the structures found at their commune, claiming that they buildings violated the conditions on the use of the land.
In July, 2005, the Sky Kingdom commune was raided by Malaysia's Islamic Religious Department. During the raid, 21 followers were arrested and some VCDs "pertaining to the sect's activities" were seized.
After the raid, a police spokesman said:
... four of the followers
would be charged under Section 14 (B) of the Syariah
Criminal Offence Enactment (Takzir) 2001 for possessing documents which humiliated Islamic teachings. If convicted, they could be fined up to RM3,000 or jailed up to two years, or both.
Muhammad Ramli said the remaining 17 followers would be charged under Section 10 (B) of the enactment for not adhering to the state fatwa which has ruled the teachings as deviant.
The seized video material will likely be used to prove that Ayah Pin "took part in unIslamic rituals:"
The VCDs seized from a commune features several scenes which are said to be controversial and unIslamic.
According to sources, some of the scenes show Ayah Pin and his followers visiting a Hindu temple in Selangor and being garlanded by priests.
“It showed vibuthi (holy ash) being applied across his forehead and devotees were seen praying to him and washing his feet with yellow water,” said a source.
There are also scenes of him visiting Bali and meeting up with Hindu devotees and priests in the island.
He was also seen meeting with Christians at his commune in Kampung Batu 13 in Jerteh.
In an interview with The Star recently, Ayah Pin claimed the “Sky Kingdom” has vested him with powers and the right to unite peoples of the world irrespective of their religion.
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