Malaysia: Woman Can't Quit Islam
Court refuses to grant 'teapot cultist' permission to change religion
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 20, 2011 3:40 AM CDT
Authorities demolished the group's sacred teapot in 2005.   (Wikipedia/Kiedd07)

(Newser) – Kamariah Ali may consider herself a member of the Sky Kingdom sect—known as the "teapot cult"—but she is a Muslim under the law, a Malaysian civil court has decided. The court rejected the 60-year-old woman's request to leave Islam to avoid being jailed for apostasy, the BBC reports. Judges decided that the case needs to be heard by an Islamic court, which is extremely unlikely to grant her request to officially quit the religion she no longer follows.

Kamariah had asked the court to declare her freedom to worship, as guaranteed in Malaysia's constitution. The group she belongs to, which built a giant teapot to symbolize its belief in the healing purity of water, is one of numerous sects in Malaysia regarded as heretical by Islamic authorities. Its leader, who considers himself the savior of the world, fled to neighboring Thailand in 2005 after authorities arrested dozens of his followers and demolished the giant teapot.