back to article Malaysian woman jailed for worshipping teapot

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 …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    The IT angle...

    Perhaps they worship the 3D teapot so beloved of early graphics rendering demos?

    The sad face 'cos if Islam is as good as they claim then they wouldn't need to worry about apostasy.

  2. Ian Stephenson

    Article 18

    So Malaysia doesn't feel the need to adopt the Universal Declaration of Human Rights ( )

    "Article 18:- Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance."

  3. Mike Crawshaw

    England is a Secular Country...

    So we should immediately take this wonderful idea from Sharia and send to jail anyone who "converts" from atheism (or agnosticism, I'm a fair guy....) to any of the Sky Fairy religions.

    I await the flames....!

  4. Anonymous Coward

    Gong fan in dismay

    Since the early '70s I too have worshipped the Flying Teapot, guided by the Guru Banana Ananda I have chanted the mystic words "Banana, Manyana, Nirvana" as I listened to the heavenly sounds. Support this woman by calling down the Pothead Pixies to rain down tea-leaves on the heads of her incarcerators. May Zero the Hero rescue her with the help of Lawrence the Alien.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Apostasy...'s the only really justifiable capital crime left.

    If you have pretensions to civilisation, why are you prosecuting someone for exercising freedom of religion? If you don't, why not just top 'em? No need to worry about false convictions, it's the one crime where a confession and repentance makes you "not guilty".

  6. Alf

    Chocolate Teapot anyone...?

    My kettle broke down this morning, and I thought it was the end of the world!

    Had to boil water in a saucepan.

  7. Tom

    Come on Lester, your one and only chance and you ruin it!

    How about 'Left to stew in hot water'

    Or, 'trouble is a brewing'

    They're just off the top of my head, i'm being called for a fag break, otherwise you'd get the works...

  8. Christopher Woods
    IT Angle

    The REAL IT angle...

    All good IT folks enjoy a warming cuppa at any appropriate point of the day (I usually always have one next to me from 9:20am until 5pm)... Remind me to not jobseek for a Malaysian IT position!

  9. Anonymous Coward

    Teapot worship?

    She must be an electrician

  10. John Boyarsky

    The IT angle is....

    The IT angle is....

    Are you ready for it? Remember no chair throwing....

    IT was a 2 story teapot!

    Hello?!?!? A 2 story tall teapot!

    And now for something completely different...

    **ps. you guys need a "Duh!?!" category of comment for those ohhh-sooo-obvious survey results.**

  11. Ash
    Thumb Down

    One more to add to the pile...

    ... of detritus which litters The Register's front page.

  12. Mark Broadhurst
    Thumb Down

    While Malaysia has constitutional guarantees of freedom of worship....execpt

    thats like saying Hitler had freedom of worship except....

    As Dawkins says "Its a child of Muslim parents not a Muslim child."

    and the same applies to any religion.

  13. Anonymous Coward

    For an IT angle

    they'd have to worship a coffeepot

  14. Anonymous Coward


    I thought the Koran-approved punishment for apostasy was death?

    Why are they interfering with the Word of Allah?

    Also, I take it this isn't Russell's Teapot-worshipping cult? ;-)

  15. Hans Mustermann


    "The sad face 'cos if Islam is as good as they claim then they wouldn't need to worry about apostasy."

    Actually, way I see it, it has nothing to do with the Islam. People "convert" from all sorts of things to all sorts of other things, for various reasons ranging from pragmatic to delusional. I have a coworker who switched from worshipping Linux and Tux and being a foaming-at-the-mouth Linux zealot, to basically "Linux is crap for idiots, OpenBSD is the One True OS, and Theo de Raad is its prophet." Some people "convert" from being western citizens with human rights and stuff, to supporting some deranged religion and terrorism. Etc. No matter how good an idea (religious or otherwise) is to you or me, someone out there will renounce it for something else.

    The real (bad) joke is claiming to grant freedom of religion while having apostasy laws. People get baptized/declared/whatever by their parents to some religion, before they can even understand what that means at all, and then they get threatened with long jail sentences if they dare renounce that religion. It seems to me that most of the population effectively has zero freedom there. Someone else decided for them what they have to worship, and are threatened with nasty stuff if they even think of making their own choice.

    I'm sorry, but that's not freedom of religion in any form or shape. That's just an uneasy concession to the western colonial powers along the lines of, "Ok, ok, we won't try to kill you for being non-muslims." To their own natives, effectively they didn't grant any freedom, and aren't going to grant any.

  16. Anonymous Coward

    Mrs Doyle vs Mrs Ali

    A wee cup of tea there imam, achh go on. A cup of tea to warm the soul? are you sure imam, i can't tempt you, no? achh go on go on go on go on go on....

    This cult has to be stopped at all cost. Before long the custard cream executive force will be on the streets, the bourbon cream martyrs brigade will strike and the coffee gangstas will take to the mattresses!

    A dark time is brewing....

    (oh look 3 o'clock, time for a tea break)

  17. hugo tyson

    Bertand Russell

    Were they worshipping Russell's Teapot? Now that I could respect, it has so many parallels... it would be so just-like-scientology if that philosophical straw-man had accidentally mutated into a real religion.

  18. Luther Blissett

    No links?

    > "Apostasy's the only really justifiable capital crime left."

    Do you know the word treason? Are you simple, treacherous, or do you just feel lucky today kid?

  19. Elmer Phud

    I'm A Little Teapot . . .

    Didn't they have split a while back with one faction remaining to worship the teapot and another looking for the inner meaning of the teapot and discovering that the only truth was in the power of the pyramid teabag?

    However, they in turn were persecuted by fundamentalists who swear on the infallible tea strainer.

    Unfortunately there is no end in sight of mediation between the milk first and milk last acolytes.

  20. amlendu

    Shaken and stirred

    Islam as always shaken and stirred by teapots teddys etc. etc.

    Flame to burn non islamists

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Mike Crawshaw

    England is a Secular Country...

    Oh how wrong you are. Ever wonder why faith schools are allowed to continue indoctrinating children? And how much of your tax money subsidises them? Try setting up a "faith" school that preaches agnostic and atheist viewpoints (there is no such thing as atheism, a non-belief in deities does not constitute a religion in its own right) and see how far you get. Try petitioning the Government to abolish faith schools (again) and you'll see just how much of a secular society we really are.

  22. John Savard

    Awaiting the Other Shoe

    If there are Muslims in Malaysia whose sentiments would be upset by a former Muslim freely converting to another religion, then those Muslims don't respect the rights of other people. So they're potential terrorists, and the government of Malaysia is pandering to them, instead of locking them up. The only thing left is to find out when regime change will happen.

  23. Chris Purdye

    Is the Malaysian Star print only?

    I can't find an online reference to this story (except on El Reg itself) and can't find any web presence for the Malaysian Star. So, let me be the first to say...

    Pics or it didn't happen!

  24. David Evans


    I was in KL about a year ago and I remember reading a comment in the Straights Times while I was there; it was reporting on a conference about apostasy that had just taken place; the keynote speaker said the death penalty for apostasy subscribed under Islam was not suitable FOR THE MOMENT (my caps). I nearly choked on my cornflakes as I sat in a 21st century city reading about people discussing killing people for their beliefs (or lack of them) just around the corner.

  25. Ben Cross
    Thumb Up

    @ Chris Purdye

    Reckon i found another link Chris! :)


  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    This article has a picture of the giant teapot.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    Why oh why oh why did you allow commenting on this one?

    It was obvious, wasn't it, that the Reg's oh-so-witty readership would jump on this as *yet another* opportunity to declare religious people as mad, stupid, backward savages.

    These comments may hold some weight if they weren't merely braindead regurgitations of the hay from *other people's strawmen*.

    If the militant atheist brigade want to show their intellectual superiority, I urge them to post something that is genuinely intellegent.

    Until then, you just look like members of yet another Cult of the Great Truth.

  28. StopthePropaganda
    Thumb Down


    frankly the only "sin" here is showing respect to that weak dunk-bag brew instead of manly coffee from Colombia or that ferocious stuff you can get in Egypt. Grind it, boil it, filter out the worst of the grounds with your teeth.

    Though since America is supposed to be the only intolerant nation in the world, we harass the tea drinkers at work here something fierce. haven't arrested them though.

    Or is this less a religious matter and one of Corporate Oppression? Starbucks in collusion with the government to force double-tall skinny half-caffs onto the tea-drinking indigenous population?

    Where's the outrage? Oh yah, it's an islamic nation, with good ties to the direct descendants of Mohammed and the Royal Saud. Therefore it's a "good thing".

  29. Kane
    Paris Hilton

    Forget the IT angle....

    ...where is the Paris angle? C'mon Lester!! The people need to know!!

    I choosse Paris as my avatar, because I can.

  30. Scott

    IT Angle......?

    .... the teapot is obviously left over from the 2-mile high statue of Arthur Dent.....

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Twenty thirty-three / cannabis in tea

    "I can't find an online reference to this story (except on El Reg itself) and can't find any web presence for the Malaysian Star. So, let me be the first to say..."

    It was in the Daily Telegraph this morning, with a picture of the teapot, and the rubble left behind after its demolition. Perhaps the teapot was unsafe, or the cult did not have planning permission. Nonetheless it's not a great advert for Malaysia. What could be more harmless, and more English, than worshipping a giant teapot? It's like something from an absurdist British science fiction novel.

    There was a time when the Royal Navy would be asked to send gunboats to any nation that desecrated England's national drink. What next, is Malaysia planning to demolish the Giant Sacred Cricket Stumps of the Bow-Tham sect?

  32. Skullfoot

    You must be kidding

    You know, Thor would smite that teapot worshipper with mighty Lightning bolts! and so would Zues!

    Im sure Hera would just curse her..though, Then again, Mars would have us go to war ,(GWB) beware!

    Pluto and Hades, would tell her to go to hell Im sure! but not sure Satan wouldn't be good wtih that, cause shes..

    ...COMPLETY HARMLESS! people worldwid need to lighten the FRAK UP! (YEAH its a BSG reference.. got something to say about it ... do yah HUH!)

    We americans are heavily armed for a reason... we are nuts.. but look around.. we're also free to BELIEVE anything we want! even GWB..

    Hey soon as we find mountains of oil under Malaysia.. we'll be there to set this woman free.. COUNT ON IT!..

    HAT COAT, and NUCULAR... weapons to go.. thanks..

  33. lglethal Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Malaysian religious politics

    Having lived in Malaysia i can tell you its a strange place. Freedom of religion and belief does exist for everyone except ethnic Malays (there are 4 main ethnic groups in Malaysia - Ethnic Malays about 50-60% of the population, Ethnic Chinese - 20-30%, Ethnic Indians - 10-15%, Indigineous Malaysians - 5%) Ethnic Malays are by law born Muslims and it is illegal for them to change religion.

    Law in Malaysia is a 2 tiered thing, A form of Sharia Law (which is relatively modern and advanced, not Saudi Medieval style Sharia Law) is the governing law for the Ethnic Malays, and a seperate Common Law exists for everyone else. Naturally this gets really complicated when something takes place where malays & non-malay's are involved and im not going to go into that here.

    When i was living there back in April there was a case going on where a malay woman was fighting in the courts to be recognised as a christian and not a muslim. This was rejected and she was imprisoned for apostasy (and received MULTITUDES of death threats).

    Quite frankly any religion that fears people leaving the religion so much that it imprisons or murders them for trying obviously does not have a great deal of confidence in its own ability to keep people in worship by anything other than fear! Speaks to me of desperation, no?

  34. G R Goslin

    Good for them

    Quite honestly, I find the teapot a far more rational object of worship than most of the religions that infest this planet

  35. E

    Revelations from a pot.

    I think the sharia judge was partaking of the magic-mushroom-tea pot. Also, if he'd start smoking pot, then he might not trust the gov't anymore either.

  36. Anony Mous


    Ah, the joys of Sharia.

    Coming to the UK in 2010-2020 or so.

  37. Anonymous Coward

    Yep, this sort of thing does happen...

    Individual human rights has never been a particularly strong Malaysian virtue.

    The problem may be that 'recognising differences' ( or some may call it downright discrimination ) is constitutionalised. Ask a Malaysian. Don't take my word for it.

    In a multi-ethnic population, this is very tricky indeed.

    There is a preferred ethnic/racial group, the Malay, which is Muslim by faith. Which is why the laws tend to favour Muslims in said country.

    I am fairly surprised but this dodgy bit of the constitution was not questioned at the formation of the country which obviously led to a degree of marginalisation of the other existing groups from the outset.

    What is even more surprising is apparently little was done about this in subsequent elections. Whether this is due to downright suppression by the ruling party ( many believe this ) and/or apathy on parts of others I do not fully know or understand.

    What I do know is this: this ruling ethnic group is now so proportionally large ( > 50% of the population) it would seem any attempt to reverse this is ... difficult.

    There is now no hope for example of a non-muslim to ever run for prime minister in this country the way it is now. The dominant ruling party has NEVER changed.

    However, what is fortunate is that Malaysia is not fully your typical muslim/arab state. Within this group of Muslims there are moderates as there are fundamentalists and it would appear, at least for now, moderation is the status quo, sensibly so, as significant progress would be otherwise impeded.

    Make no mistake. Despite what people may tell you, Malaysia is not a country free of discrimination. There are 2 tiers of citizenship there, it is clearly there in the constitution.

    It is also not a religiously 'free' state. If you are not a Muslim expect anything from minor inconveniences to apparent overt discrimination. And if you become a Muslim it would seem the only way to unbecome one is to leave the country, as this case clearly illustrates.

    There has been no change in the ruling political party or body since inception - in a sense it is somewhat like a mild somewhat benign dictatorship.

    Nevertheless economically it has done fairly interestingly. Despite what appears unappealing, there are lessons abound to be learnt here.

    Truth be told, the whole history of the area is interesting, and if you're Aussie you would want to learn about your neighbours. I have spent some time there. This is how I know what I know.

    But don't take my word for it. Ask a Malaysian. Or better yet go there and see for yourselves. Good holiday lots of sun, exchange rates in your favour, food is 'good' (this is arguable) and the place is 'mostly harmless'.

    Hardware is cheap and you can get 'cough' 'cough' software...

  38. Dave Turner

    The IT angle

    The only possible IT angle is if you can look it up online to find out when the teapot has tea in it so you know if you can get a cup or have to wait - similar to the old coffee pot monitor at MIT I believe?

  39. Brett Weaver

    Maybe the best response...

    Is to ask Dell, who supplies all of Australasia from Malaysia what they feel about supporting a nation with such a low regard for human rights.

    Maybe the real answer is just to reduce the amount of business done with international companies that manufacture in countries we don't like.

    Vote with your feet. It might even be effective in the end.

  40. Silas

    @ Luther Blisset

    Treason isn't a capital offence in the UK. I'm sure it is in many places around the planet, but not here dear chap.

    Are you related to the many Luther Blisset's involved in some rioting in Italy many years ago? Or an entirely different branch?

    After reading this, I do fancy a nice cup of tea...

  41. Anonymous Coward

    re: *Yawn*

    "It was obvious, wasn't it, that the Reg's oh-so-witty readership would jump on this as *yet another* opportunity to declare religious people as mad, stupid, backward savages."

    It's a target rich environment, who could resist?

    "If the militant atheist brigade want to show their intellectual superiority, I urge them to post something that is genuinely intellegent."

    Ok, how about; "There's nothing wrong with religion - as long as you don't do it public and wash your hands afterwards..."

  42. Kristin McKechie

    @ Iglethal

    "Quite frankly any [religion] *country* that fears people leaving the [religion] *country* so much that it imprisons or murders them for trying obviously does not have a great deal of confidence in its own ability to keep people in [worship] by anything other than fear! Speaks to me of desperation, no?"

    *Edits Mine*

    ...hmmm... I wonder why images of the Berlin Wall and thoughts of the Stazi rushed through my head while reading this quote... an excellent question to ask....

  43. Francis Boyle

    Bruce is right

    It is (was) a cg teapot - I can see the individual polys.

    I feel bad about being flippant about what is at heart a serious issue but sometimes it's the only alternative to despair.

  44. Bruce Sinton

    A Christian Habit until fairly recent times

    Apostasy was punishable by burning at the stake in that land of liberty etc. , called England .

    Don't be too hard on these Muslims , I mean we(I mean you) did it too.

    George of USA , being a Fundamentalist fellow would like to see the Old Time Religion make a comeback.

    Peace and Joy man

  45. Tim Bates
    Thumb Up

    Oh my goodness!!!

    aManFromMars has just explained a whole lot about his (or her) posts.

    It all makes sense now!

  46. Mike Crawshaw

    Re: AC 16:21 "England is a OFFICIALLY Secular Country"

    The missing word is "officially" - apologies for skipping that.

    Just like we have freedom of speech, a caring Government that listens to its people ("we didn't REALLY promise a referendum, you must have misread it...") and a law system based on "innocent until proven guilty".

    Oh, wait...

  47. Anonymous Coward

    Regime change not likely

    The Star website news section is here: I can't find anything about this though. I do recall, however, that the giant teapot, or at least a giant teapot, was demolished a couple of years ago, and forty-odd people (or forty odd people) were sent for religious 're-education'.

    Someone above mentioned regime change: we have a general election this weekend, and the word on the street is that it could be nasty - I'm certainly not looking forward to going to the pub for the football on sunday. Bloody Barisan Nasional flags everywhere, although DAP, an opposition chinese party, are pretty strong in my part of KL.

    Fun & Games coming, I think...

    The coat's the one with the tea-stains, AC for good reason

  48. Slaine

    Three cheers for Religion

    ... in all it's infantile glory.

    Oh, and I think you'll find that it's "2-storey" teapot, not "2-story"

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Bruce Sinton

    "Apostasy was punishable by burning at the stake in that land of liberty etc. , called England .

    Don't be too hard on these Muslims , I mean we(I mean you) did it too."

    Note the past tense in your own posting. Previous generations of Brits may have killed people for heresy, but that was centuries ago. A few things such as enlightenment, reason and a general lessening of ignorance means that contemporary Britain is now quite secular (despite Blair and his love of faith schools).

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Re:Re: *Yawn*

    " Ok, how about; "There's nothing wrong with religion - as long as you don't do it public and wash your hands afterwards..." "

    My point proven quite nicely.

    Science is about rational debate. Snide comments do nothing to encourage debate.

    What is it that atheists dislike about religion?

    People live in faith -- which often means unquestioning ignorance.

    Their faith is "truth", everyone else is lesser beings -- heathens, infidels, heretics.

    Yet people who couldn't split an atom, magnetise a box of iron filings or buffer a weak acid solution willingly accept everything scientific as truth and decry everyone who disagrees with them as lesser beings -- ignorant dimwits.

    If you truly believe in science, if you truly believe in cold rationality, you wouldn't be so emotive. You would believe in educating, and as such you would rationally be forced to accept that education requires buy-in from both the teacher and the learner, and that no student was ever motivated by the words "You're wrong, and you're a grotesquely ugly freak!"

  51. Gavin Pearce

    RE: Good for them

    "Quite honestly, I find the teapot a far more rational object of worship than most of the religions that infest this planet"

    I so, so agree!!

  52. Slaine

    re: *yawn* version 2

    okay: "E = MC^2". Doesn't help much though does it because it has been taken out of context... get the subtle clue?

    Now then, when you accuse the "oh-so-witty" readership of referring to "religious people as mad, stupid, backward savages" I trust this is a personal confession. Your post on this thread has all the classic hallmarks of a persecution complex, your argument is illogical. Oh, and since I am not technically an atheist and I don't hold any sway with militant tendancies... does that mean I have to start my own brigade?

    Now then - where's my blasted cassock?

  53. Anonymous Coward

    secular? tepots? technophiles?

    I thought we were all supposed to have convert to environmentalists now, it's so hard to keep up these days.

    mine is the stilts with nonseance walking about on them.

  54. Ishkandar

    Serves her right !! Heathen !!

    Malaysians must worship the Great God Dollar and its temples are everywhere marked with the sign "Bank" !! All tithes and donations are gratefully received !!

  55. Nick Pettefar

    @Dave Turner - Coffee Pot Monitor/Webcam

    No no no! It was at Cambridge University - in England! World's first webcam I believe.

    Malaysia seriously needs to GetALife. What a joke of a situation where people can't change religion if they are born muslims! I wonder what Jimmy Choo has to say about this - I guess he worships the shoe.

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