Friday, March 30, 2007

Malaysia's Noah Ark

A huge structure, built by a cult that promised its followers smooth sailing into the hereafter, is headed for doom.

Purportedly the Noah’s Ark of modern times, followers of the late Sulaiman Mohd Said, who once predicted that the people of Klang would perish in a terrible flood, built the boat-like structure that is now close to ruin.

Sulaiman persuaded his followers, that when the floods came, they would be the chosen ones to sail away to safety with him in the “vessel.”

The Selangor state government now wants to tear down the building.

“Yes, the building will go. The order to demolish has been given to the Klang land office,” said state executive councillor in charge of religious affairs Datuk Abdul Rahman Palil.

The state government made the decision in August last year, to wipe out any memory of the deviant Ajaran Sulaiman or Ajaran Bahtera Noah.

Sources from the Selangor Islamic Affairs Department (Jais) said Sulaiman did not know how to read the Quran nor did he have any formal religious education.

Apart from claiming that his so-called Noah’s Ark would save mankind, he also claimed to be the Prophet Isa (Jesus).

Jais sources said the movement had wanted its followers and their families to move into the vessel and make it their “mothership.”

Jais had kept a close watch on the leaders since the cult surfaced and banned the movement in the early 1990s.

The mammoth structure – which stretches like a row of terrace houses and includes a surau, two towering masts, portholes and Quranic verses on the wall – is located in a remote village in Meru Barat.

A check by The Star showed the structure had long been abandoned, but the locked entrance was guarded by two hissing geese.

Sulaiman purportedly set up the movement in 1989, by registering it as a business entity with a capital of RM2.5mil and is said to have envisioned a global Islamic enterprise.

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