World

Malaysia Muslim sect leader
gets 10-year sentence

A Malaysian Islamic court sentenced a Muslim sect leader to 10 years in prison and six lashes of a cane Wednesday for spreading false teachings and claiming to be God's prophet.

Abdul Kahar Ahmad, 59, pleaded guilty in an Islamic Shariah court last month to charges of spreading false doctrine, blasphemy and violating religious precepts.

He had been charged in 2006 but went into hiding for three years to evade trial before Islamic religious police tracked him down in central Selangor state last month.

Officials have accused Abdul Kahar of sending letters to the prime minister and other authorities to urge them to affirm him as a prophet, claiming he was appointed by God under the same circumstances as the Prophet Muhammad.

The Shariah court in Selangor decided Wednesday to jail Abdul Kahar for 10 years, said state prosecutor Muhamad Nazri Basrawi. He will also be caned six times and must pay a fine of 16,500 ringgit ($5,000), Muhamad Nazri said.

Earlier this month incourt, Abdul Kahar reportedly urged his supporters to forget his teachings and repent. Prosecutors say he is believed to have had more than 100 followers.

Malaysia, whose population of 28 million people is nearly two-thirds Muslim, is wary of groups that preach radical views of Islam because of fears that they could upset the country's religious stability and moderate teachings.

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