Malaysian 'teapot cult' woman loses Islam legal bid
By - - BBC NEWS WEBSITE
Added: Wed, 20 Jul 2011 12:33:05 UTC
Malaysia's civil court has refused a woman permission to leave Islam to avoid being jailed for apostasy.
Kamariah Ali, 60, says she should not be tried under Islamic law because she is no longer a Muslim.
Kamariah Ali has already been tried for apostasy in the Islamic courts
She follows the Sky Kingdom sect, known as the teapot cult because it built a giant teapot to symbolise its belief in the healing purity of water.
But judges ruled that only Malaysia's Islamic courts could decide on the case because Ms Kamariah was born a Muslim.
Malaysia's Islamic courts have authority over only Muslims - the rest of the population are not bound by their rules.
The BBC's Jennifer Pak in Kuala Lumpur says Ms Kamariah's case is one of a growing number of legal challenges brought by those caught between the Islamic authorities and the civil courts.
Ms Kamariah had asked the civil courts to declare her freedom to worship, as guaranteed by the constitution.
But the judging panel said she had to go through the Islamic courts system in order to renounce her faith - something that is rarely granted, our correspondent says.
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