Revenge of the Teapot Worshippers

A report from thestar.com.my  Friday October 8, 2010

newsdesk@thestar.com.my

Dept to probe Ayah Pin report

By R.S.N. MURALI
newsdesk@thestar.com.my

KUALA TERENGGANU: The Terengganu government has instructed the state Religious Department to authenticate a report in a vernacular newspaper yesterday that Ariffin Mohamad, better known as Ayah Pin, has re-emerged at his demolished commune in Besut.

Ayah Pin - Founder of the Teapot Cult

The elusive leader of the Sky Kingdom had reportedly held a sermon for a group of his followers comprising lawyers, bank officers and academicians at the commune in Kampung Batu 13, Pasir Akar, Hulu Besut, last Monday.

State Religion and Information Committee chairman Khazan Che Mat said officers from the department had been directed to investigate whether the sect leader, believed to be living in exile in southern Thailand, came out of his hideout on the said date.

“There were numerous reports previously that Ayah Pin had sneaked into the country and appeared at his commune since the crackdown on his cult in 2005. In this case, we still have to authenticate the report whether he really returned to Besut,” he said here yesterday.

At the height of his popularity, the self-styled prophet had four wives and 21 followers, including a police inspector and a drummer from a rock group, all of whom were arrested and are now on trial.

Known for his giant structures of a teapot, vase, umbrella, concrete boat and a “palace” at his commune, Ayah Pin had claimed that God was human and his deviant teachings included not making Friday prayers compulsory.

Ayah Pin had in his sermons allegedly claimed that the Sky King­dom had given him the power and right to unite people of the world irrespective of their religion.

He was declared an apostate for leaving Islam and spent 11 months in jail in 2001 for his activities.

A police source said it was impossible for Ayah Pin to enter Hulu Besut as he had been on the police radar since 2005.

Checks at the commune yesterday suggested there had been no visitors for some time based on the overgrowth leading to the area.

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About stevehollier

Steve Hollier is the editor of AZ Magazine, an English language lifestyle magazine based in Baku, Azerbaijan. He began his career working for a firm of stockbrokers in the City of London then went on to attend the University of Essex where he was awarded an MA in Sociology in 1984. After a career in arts and cultural development work, he became a freelance arts consultant, writer and photographer.
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