Deviant sect with strange induction under probe

Selangor, Malaysia - A movement targeting young Muslim professionals and executives is being monitored by the Selangor Religious Affairs Department (JAIS).

The department’s public relations officer Fakrul Azam Yahya said the movement was secretive and had strange induction methods.

He said new members of Gerakan Pemuda Al Kahfi have to pay RM1,000 to join and must agree to wear a blindfold before being taken to a secret location for their initiation.

He said they are subjected to "counselling" by senior members and the group utilises its own scriptures.

He said since the group moved around a lot, the department has found it difficult to track it down.

He said there were suspicions that the group may have links to deviant movements in Indonesia.

The department has to date received numerous complaints about the group but investigations were hindered by the group’s movements and the lack of information.

Fakrul Azam said Al Kahfi was first detected by Angkatan Belia Islam Malaysia (Abim) at the end of 2004, but since then the movement has grown stronger in Selangor.

However, hard evidence was needed before a fatwa (declaration) could be issued against the group. JAIS is appealing to disgruntled ex-members to come forward to help the department.

"We are especially keen to obtain a copy of their scriptures as it will allow us to scrutinise the roots of its deviant teachings. We heard it contains matters such as wahyu (divine revelations), for members," he said.

Fakrul Azam urged those with information about the group to call 03-5519-6997.

Yesterday, JAIS gave a briefing for representatives of Muslim organisations, NGOs and enforcement agencies in Selangor on Rufaqa, a group which is accused of being a front for the banned Al-Arqam movement.