A Malaysian woman has been jailed for two years for hooking up with the "teapot worshipping" Sky Kingdom cult, contrary to Sharia law which prohibits born Muslims converting to other religions.
Former teacher Kamariah Ali, 57, was cuffed in 2005 when the powers that be clamped down on the cult and demolished its two-storey sacred teapot symbolising the "purity of water" and "love pouring from heaven".
While Malaysia has constitutional guarantees of freedom of worship, apostasy is off the menu for the Muslim population. Mrs Ali previously served 20 months in 1992 for the offence, and Sharia High Court judge Mohammed Abdullah had no hesitation handing down further time.
He said he'd "considered aspects of public interest and the sentiments of Muslims in the country", and told the defendant: "The court is not convinced that the accused has repented and is willing to abandon any teachings contrary to Islam. I pray God will open the doors of your heart, Kamariah."
Ali's lawyer, Sa'adiah Din, protested to reporters: "This has to stop. They can't be sending her again and again to prison for this. She informed the court that she is not a Muslim. She doesn't come under Sharia court anymore."
An appeal hearing will tomorrow "consider [Ali's] plea for a lighter sentence and to defer the date of her sentencing", the Malaysia Star notes. ®
And the IT angle?
Who cares? You get one chance in your career to write the Malaysian teapot-worship headline, and by the Lord Harry and Saint George this hack wasn't going to let it pass.