Banned Sect ‘Worse Than Tsunami’

Banda Aceh, TAG - City officials said on Thursday that they would stick to their threat to name and shame members of a banned sect who had not yet repented before the deadline of Wednesday.

 Illiza Sa’aduddin Djamal, deputy mayor of Banda Aceh, said her administration was still verifying information about the followers of the Millata Abraham sect before revealing their identities.

“Right now we’re coordinating on the data with the city’s Shariah enforcement agency and the city police,” she said. “We’ll start publishing their names in early June.”

Illiza said official records showed there were around 100 followers of the sect in the city, although unofficial estimates put the number at closer to 200.

She added that no matter how insignificant their transgressions might seem, the impact was “worse than the tsunami” that killed more than 170,000 people in Aceh alone in December 2004.

“When a Muslim leaves Islam, that’s a major disaster,” she said.

The city administration issued a decree on April 6 banning the sect. On May 10, it gave the followers an ultimatum to renounce their faith by May 25 or face having their identities published in the local media as part of a name-and-shame campaign.

Millata Abraham members do not recognize the Prophet Muhammad and only pray once a day at midnight, instead of five times a day as everyday Muslims are required.

In April, more than a hundred members of the sect underwent a mass conversion to the mainstream faith.

Said Yulizal, head of the Shariah enforcement agency, said that since the ultimatum, only 20 of the followers had volunteered to renounce their faith.

“We’re giving them a final chance to report themselves to our office,” he said.

He attributed the low turnout to the possibility that several of the followers may have already left Banda Aceh.[]
Banned Sect ‘Worse Than Tsunami’ Banned Sect ‘Worse Than Tsunami’ Reviewed by Nurdin Hasan on May 28, 2011 Rating: 5

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