Mob fire-bombs 'teapot' cult HQ

Posted by: EndGame

Mob fire-bombs 'teapot' cult HQ - 07/19/05 12:43 AM

A mob fire-bombed the headquarters of a bizarre Malaysian cult built around a giant teapot Monday, police and a fireman said, two weeks after the sect was raided by religious officials.

About 30-35 assailants armed with Molotov cocktails attacked the commune in the early morning, torching a car and the roof of a building and scorching the giant teapot itself, emergency services officials, local media and a lawyer for the sect said.

The sect, which believes the teapot has healing properties, is in Malaysia's northeast, a strongly Muslim area that has suddenly lost patience with the sect, headed by an elderly man who says he is God and owner of everything, his "Sky Kingdom."

"There has been a small fire," firefighter Ahmad Fakarudin told Reuters by phone from Jertih, a town near the commune. "The roof of the teapot structure is also slightly charred but since it is made of concrete, the damage is not extensive," he said.

Police said there no reports of injuries.

Some of the attackers carried machetes, covered their faces with robes and threw Molotov cocktails and burning tyres at the compound, said Haris Mohamad Ibrahim, a lawyer for the sect.

Haris, who wasn't at the compound, said the motive for the attacks was unclear and the identity of the attackers unknown.

Mainly Muslim Malaysia has Islam as its state religion and tolerates other major religions, with large minorities of Christians, Hindus and Buddhists.

State religious authorities have outlawed the teapot sect as a deviant cult. Its leader, Ayah Pin, believes he is the "boss of all religions," according to a recent newspaper interview.

Religious officials raided the commune early this month and detained 21 followers, although Ayah Pin eluded arrest.

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