Remember Ashaari Mohammed of al-Arqam, alleged by the government to self-style himself as some sort of messiah who had the 'authority' to forgive the sins of Muslims. al-Arqam was officially banned in 1994 on grounds that it was a heretic sect.
It just so happen that Ashaari also heads Rufaqa, which runs multi-million-dollar businesses from restaurants to schools, with operations in Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia and Jordan.
What a CEO, one perhaps with a 'divine' touch, ... er ... at business I mean!
Recently Islamic authorities in Selangor detained some members of the Rufaqa Corporation on allegations of their attempts to resurrect (pun not intended) the outlawed al-Arqam sect and reviving ‘deviant’ Islamic teachings.
In fact the Selangor Government has waxed hot that it would go all out to purge al-Arqam deviationist practices and ideologies, that it accused Rufaqa Corporation Sdn Bhd of propagating. The state will launch a huge campaign to educate the people in Selangor on the dangers of Rufaqa’ and its deviationist teachings.
State Religious Affairs committee chairman Abdul Rahman Palil said the move became necessary given claims made by certain individuals, believed to be Rufaqa members, and also circulated by SMS, that al-Arqam founder Ashaari Muhammad possesses 'abnormal' powers.
Just a note on the English adjective he used: Shouldn't the claimed powers be 'supernatural' rather than 'abnormal'?
Abdul Rahman added: “Even I received a call recently telling me that the serious flooding in the country is Ashaari’s doing.”
... 'serious' flooding? Has any flooding of such magnitude as the one we're experiencing not been 'serious'?
Well, back to the subject, KTemoc’s reasoning is that if the alleged Rufaqa members has been so silly as to claim that voodoo bull, as asserted by Abdul Rahman, then one could argue that Ashaari has been, by his mumbo-jumbo, responsible for the deaths of innocent and sufferings of tens of thousands.
Anyway, Abdul Rahman said if the supernatural claims were left unchecked, the reverence of al-Arqam members for Ashaari could develop to such a force that would lead to militancy and violence, which would then threaten national security.
But he reassured Rufaqa members (as if they care two hoots about his assurances) they were free to carry on with their businesses provided that they did not spread Ashaari’s doctrine and teachings through their commercial activities.
The above are common knowledge, though you won’t (yet) see the following in Bernama, the NST, Star Online or Utusan.
From al Jazeera, we learnt that Rufaqa has hit back, legally that is, by filing a RM150 million defamation case against Malaysian Islamic authorities. That means the Corporation is saying the authority has ‘harmfully’ badmouthed it without justification.
Rufaqa filed its defamation case against Mustapha Abdul Rahman, the director of the Malaysian Islamic Development Department; good ole Abdul Rahman Paliliff, and Zabidi Shariff, a former legal adviser to al-Arqam.
Hello, hello … a former legal adviser to Rufaqa? Hmmm, …
Aziz Hashim, the economic and corporate adviser of Rufaqa, said: "Saying Rufaqa is trying to revive al-Arqam is simply not true.”
"As a company we don't have any belief. We don't practise religion. We are a company only. We don't have a religious agenda. If we have religious agenda, we wouldn't register as a business."
How about that?
But Fakrul Azam Yahya, a spokesman for the Selangor Islamic Affairs Department (Jais), counterattacked by revealing that a book written by Ashaari's wife, Khadijah Aam, titled ‘My Father Ashaari Muhammad Most Miraculous Leader of His Time’, contained 36 points that constituted deviant teachings of Islam.
Some of those points overlapped with teachings of al-Arqam. Fakrul also said an advertisement for the book had linked Rufaqa to the publication.
He expects that in mid-January 2007 the court proceedings will begin against six members of Rufaqa, charged with trying to revive a banned movement and violating a fatwa (Islamic edict).
... unless said Ashaari uses his alleged supercalifragilisticexpialidocious prestidigitation to inundate the courts?