July 15th, 2012

Rugi jika tidak hayati al-Quran

Keindahan ayat suci tenteramkan jiwa

Tilawah al-Quran Peringkat Antarabangsa ke-54 yang sedang berlangsung adalah medan terbaik untuk kita semua mendekatkan diri dengan al-Quran dan saya percaya, mereka yang sedang mendalami ilmu membaca al-Quran mengikuti siaran langsung dengan tekun. Rasanya, program realiti mempelajari al-Quran yang pernah diterbitkan juga mengambil iktibar daripada majlis yang diadakan setiap tahun itu kerana hakikatnya ramai yang suka mendengar alunan ayat suci al-Quran.

Tambahan pula, ayat itu diperdengarkan dengan lagu yang merdu oleh qari serta qariah yang mempelajari serta menghayati ilmu pembacaan al-Quran secara bersistem.

Daripada keindahan alunan ayat al-Quran itu yang dapat mententeramkan jiwa siapa saja mendengarnya, tidak dapat kita sangkal betapa besarnya mukjizat al-Quran. Kita juga pasti biasa mendengar nasihat jika hati resah, bacalah al-Quran.

Sememangnya al-Quran boleh menenangkan jiwa. Anehkan, bagi yang tidak fasih bahasa Arab dan tahu makna perkataan Arab, masih mendapat manfaat daripada ayat suci diturunkan Allah kepada Rasulullah SAW.

Itu baru saja mendengar ayat suci dibacakan qari dan qariah, jika bersama pula membacanya, kita bukan saja dapat belajar kaedah membaca al-Quran dengan berlagu malah diberikan ganjaran besar kerana membaca al-Quran walau satu ayat, dijanjikan ganjaran.

Hebat sungguh mukjizat al-Quran malangnya masih ada yang tidak mahu mendekatkan diri dengan kitab suci umat Islam ini. Sedangkan memandang al-Quran pun kita sudah diberi pahala. Rugi sungguh mereka yang sombong dengan al-Quran.

Maka berbahagialah mereka yang hadir mengikuti tilawah al-Quran serta yang menontonnya melalui televisyen.

Alhamdulillah, saya diberi rahmat oleh Allah dengan membuka ruang yang luas untuk mendekatkan diri dengan al-Quran melalui perkhidmatan rawatan disediakan di Pusat Rawatan Islam al-Hidayah. Hari-hari saya berpeluang membaca dan menyebarkan mukjizat al-Quran kepada mereka yang datang mendapatkan rawatan.

Pelbagai cara Allah SWT mengurniakan rezeki kepada hamba-Nya dan ada kalanya daripada sumber tidak pernah disangka. Contohnya, saya sendiri kerana tidak pernah menyangka akan melalui proses transformasi diri yang menjadikan al-Quran sahabat setia sepanjang hari.

Saya bersyukur kerana kaedah rawatan menggunakan ayat al-Quran juga sudah menggerakkan hati dan jiwa yang sebelum ini jauh dengan al-Quran akhirnya setiap hari meniti di bibir mereka ayat memuji kekuasaan Allah SWT.

Ada yang sebelum ini tidak pandai membaca al-Quran atau keras lidahnya menyebut firman Allah, kini sudah lancar malah ada yang boleh mengajarkan pula kepada ahli keluarga, saudara serta sahabat mereka.

Firman Allah yang bermaksud: “Dan sesiapa yang bertakwa kepada Allah (dengan mengerjakan suruhan-Nya dan meninggalkan larangan-Nya), nescaya akan dijadikan baginya jalan keluar (dari segala perkara yang menyusahkannya). Serta memberinya rezeki dari jalan yang tidak terlintas hatinya. Dan (ingatlah), sesiapa berserah diri bulat-bulat kepada Allah, maka Allah cukupkan baginya (untuk menolong dan menyelamatkannya). Sesungguhnya Allah tetap melakukan segala perkara yang di kehendaki-Nya. Allah telahpun menentukan kadar dan masa bagi berlakunya tiap-tiap sesuatu.” (Surah al-Talaq, ayat 2-3)

Justeru, marilah kita bersama menjadikan amalan membaca al-Quran sebahagian daripada aktiviti wajib di samping menunaikan tanggungjawab seharian untuk memenuhi tuntutan kehidupan di dunia ini.

Mereka yang dekat dengan al-Quran akan menikmati kebahagiaan yang hanya mereka saja dapat merasainya dan perasaan itu sukar digambarkan dengan kata-kata.

Info

Ayat untuk gangguan iblis atau dirasuk, surah al-A’raf, ayat 146-159


Ashraf Muslim Sumber: Berita Harian Online Agama Ahad , 15 Julai 2012, 25 Syaaban 1433 H

Al-Quran sebagai sumber ilmu, panduan hidup

Apabila kita menyedari kita seorang Muslim, kita juga perlu menyedari orang Islam ini memiliki kitab suci yang perlu dibaca, difahami dan diamalkan sebagai panduan hidup. Perlu diingat, Allah SWT mengurniakan nikmat ke atas hamba-Nya dengan mengutuskan Nabi-Nya (Muhammad SAW) dan menurunkan kitab-Nya.


Al-Quran tiada sebarang kebatilan sama ada dari hadapan atau belakang sehingga terbentang luas bagi para ahli fikir jalan mengambil iktibar atau contoh teladan daripadanya kerana al-Quran mengandungi banyak cerita dan berita.

Dengan adanya al-Quran, nyata teranglah bagi umat manusia jalan kukuh yang harus ditujui dan titian lurus harus dilalui kerana dalamnya terdapat pelbagai hukum yang membezakan antara halal dengan haram.

Al-Quran laksana cahaya yang menerangkan, dengannya manusia akan terselamat daripada kemegahan diri, sebagai penawar mengubati segala jenis penyakit bersarang dalam hati. Sesiapa yang berpegang teguh dengan al-Quran, nescaya ia akan terbimbing untuk mendapat petunjuk.

Sesiapa mengamalkan kandungannya, nescaya ia akan berjaya dan bahagia. Allah SWT berfirman:

“Sesungguhnya Kami (Allah) menurunkan peringatan (al-Quran) dan Kami pasti memeliharanya.” (Surah al-Hijr, ayat 9)

Antara sebab menentukan terpeliharanya al-Quran dalam hati sanubari dan mashaf adalah mengamalkan pembacaannya selalu dan mendalami maksudnya terus-menerus dengan memerhatikan adab serta syaratnya. Kemudian menurut arahan terkandung di dalamnya.

Nikmat besar yang perlu disyu-kuri iaitu diberi kelapangan untuk membaca dan mentadabbur al-Quran.

Rasulullah SAW bersabda: “Sesiapa yang membaca al-Quran, kemudian mendapati ada orang lain yang dikurniakan keutamaan selain dari apa yang Allah telah kurniakannya, maka sebenarnya ia telah memperkecilkan sesuatu yang dibesarkan oleh Allah SWT.”

Ibnu Mas’ud berkata: “Sekiranya anda inginkan ilmu pengetahuan, maka pelajarilah al-Quran kerana sesungguhnya al-Quran itu mengandungi ilmu para ahli terdahulu dan yang terkemudian.”

Amru Ibnul ‘As pula berkata: “Sesiapa membaca al-Quran, maka sebenarnya telah ada bersamanya darjat kenabian, hanya dia tiada diturunkan wahyu saja.”

Rasulullah SAW mencela orang membaca al-Quran, padahal mereka lalai un-tuk melaksanakan pengajarannya. Rasulullah SAW bersabda: “Tiada dikira beriman dengan al-Quran orang yang menghalalkan segala larangannya.”

Sebahagian ulama berkata: “Sesungguhnya seorang hamba itu akan membaca al-Quran, dan ia akan melaknat dirinya, sedang ia tidak sedar akan kelakuannya. Iaitu apabila ia membaca: ‘Awas! Laknat Allah ditimpakan ke atas orang yang zalim’ padahal orang itu berlaku zalim terhadap manusia.

Ataupun dia membaca: “Awas! Laknat Allah ditimpakan ke atas orang yang berdusta’, padahal dia selalu berdusta.



Oleh Ustaz Zahazan Sumber: Berita Harian Online Agama Ahad , 15 Julai 2012, 25 Syaaban 1433 H

Membina citra Islam progresif

Kebangkitan aliran dan gerakan Islamisme di kebanyakan negara Islam hari ini memberi kesan positif, terutama dalam mengalih minda dan perhatian masyarakat dunia terhadap wajah sebenar Islam dan masyarakatnya.

Lebih sedekad lalu, masyarakat Islam seluruh dunia berada dalam keadaan yang amat terhimpit sekali akibat merebaknya gejala Islamophobia. Dalam tempoh itu, imej Islam dan masyarakatnya dipandang sebagai satu nilai dan perkumpulan yang ganas dan berbahaya.

Ektremisme sering disinonimkan dengan agama Islam. Sikap media antarabangsa yang gemar memberikan laporan keterlaluan terhadap pendirian dan kegiatan pergerakan yang beraliran keras dan ganas di dunia Islam memburukkan lagi agama imej Islam pada kacamata masyarakat dunia. Imej buruk yang direka-reka ini menimbulkan rasa yang cukup rimas sekali kepada masyarakat Islam terbanyak, malah dalam keadaan tertentu sering diburu oleh bayang ketakutannya.


Mutakhir ini, masyarakat Islam sudah mula boleh menarik nafas lega dan membuang perasaan terkurung dan rimas ketakutan yang ditanggung itu. Media antarabangsa nampaknya tidak lagi memberi tumpuan kepada kegiatan dan pendirian yang bercorak ganas dan keras oleh sesetengah pergerakan di dunia Islam.

Nampaknya dunia Barat mula sedar iaitu ekstremisme bukan mewakili realiti sebenar Islam dan masyarakatnya. Ia rupanya suatu nilai yang dianut oleh setengah kelompok kecil daripada kalangan masyarakat Islam saja dan mereka boleh dikatakan sebagai golongan terpesong dalam memahami erti dan makna Islam yang sebenar.

Kebangkitan Islamisme dan pergerakannya dalam pelbagai bidang kehidupan terutama di arena politik kini sedang menjadi sumber berita dan perhatian baru masyarakat Barat dan media mereka. Peranan golongan Islamis bersama-sama rakyat terbanyak menjatuhkan pemerintahan autokratik di Asia Barat sejak lebih setahun yang lalu menyumbang kepada kelahiran dimensi baru tentang realiti Islam kepada masyarakat dunia.

Malah, kemenangan parti yang ditaja oleh golongan Islamis menerusi saluran pilihan raya yang bersih membuka mata dan menjelaskan kepada dunia tentang sikap masyarakat Islam yang sebenarnya bersifat demokratik. Ini secara langsung menangkis dakyah sebelum ini yang sering memomokan masyarakat Islam sebagai golongan yang antikebebasan dan kemodenan.

Perubahan politik di rantau Arab ini secara langsung membuktikan iaitu nilai hidup moden seperti amalan demokrasi bukan suatu yang asing dalam kehidupan masyarakat Islam malah akan menghormatinya selagi ia tidak mencabar prinsip dan pegangan agama dan nilai asas kerohanian mereka.

Peralihan tanggapan berfikir secara positif terhadap Islam mula dikesan daripada beberapa kenyatan pemimpin Barat terhadap kemenangan parti berhaluan Islam di beberapa negara Arab baru-baru ini. Kenyataan yang dikeluarkan oleh pihak Amerika Syarikat yang menjelaskan kesediaan negara itu bekerjasama dengan calon dan parti yang beraliran Islam yang dipilih oleh rakyat di rantau Arab mengesahkan peralihan sikap ini.

Ia menjelaskan iaitu pola keislaman yang berkembang di dunia Islam hari ini ialah suatu citra baru dan ia berbeza dengan imej ekstrem yang berkembang sebelumnya. Untuk itu, Islamisme ialah realiti baru yang harus didepani secara terbuka oleh Barat demi menjadi kepentingan mereka di dunia Islam secara jangka panjang.

Sikap ini harus dialu-alukan oleh dunia Islam kerana ia amat berbeza sekali terutama ketika Amerika Syarikat menggerakkan projek yang dikenali ‘Tata Baru Dunia’ beberapa dekad lalu.

Pendekatan mereka dalam mendepani realiti Islamisme ialah menerusi konflik dan permusuhan. Kuasa besar lebih yakin menaja pemimpin tertentu walaupun bersifat kuku besi bagi mempertahan kepentingan mereka di dunia Islam dari memberikan peluang demokratik kepada pergerakan Islamis berkembang dan tumbuh.

Nampaknya pendekatan sedemikian bukan lagi pilihan terbaik dalam era globalisasi hari ini. Peralihan dasar dan sikap kuasa besar terhadap Islamisme amat jelas kini. Mereka nampaknya memperakui iaitu konflik dan permusuhan mendepani Islamisme bukan saja bertentangan dengan nilai kebebasan dan demokrasi yang diuar-uarkan, malah bakal menimbulkan sikap benci masyarakat dunia terhadap mereka secara berterusan.



Muhamad Razak Idris Sumber: Berita Harian Online Rencana Ahad , 15 Julai 2012, 25 Syaaban 1433 H

Caught up in the cult of cults

Its connection to any deviant sects has been cleared, but the Putrajaya amok is a reminder of the danger of cults, especially religious cults.

IT is the stuff of nightmare for parents. Unfortunately for a retired civil servant who only wants to be known as Mohamad, the nightmare became a reality.

Mohamad digs up the painful memory of losing his daughter to a deviant religious sect in 1983: “My eldest daughter was outgoing and very ambitious. After her first year in university, she was completely transformed. She started wearing only the black jubah and tudung labuh, and she kept her eyes down and voice low. In her second year, she dropped out and we heard she had married one of her religious brothers'.”

In the 1980s, he says in an interview, the fear of religious cults was strong, especially with many young Muslims fired up by the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran.

“My daughter was the hope of the family so we were very disappointed that she just abandoned her studies. But what hurt most then was that she had cut off all ties with us,” he adds.


 Blind devotion: Some may call Trekkers cultists but many would loath to put them in the same league as
(clockwise from left) Aum Shinkrukyo, blogger Khalil Afandi who ran amok in Putrajaya and the Teapot cult in Terengganu.

 


Caught blindsided by his daughter's “conversion”, Ahmad could sympathise with nasi lemak seller Ahmad Adam's shock at his daughter Mudalina's “samurai rampage” with self-proclaimed Imam Mahadi (or Last Messiah) Khalil Afandi Abdul Hamid at the Prime Minister's Department in Putrajaya last Monday.

Police later confirmed that the two had no connection with any deviant religious groups, but some might insist that their actions bore the markings of a religious cult, at least in the damage and destruction it can wreak.

Crucially, the Putrajaya amok incident highlights how the cult of cults is still potent in the world.

On Friday, there was the shocking news of the arrest of 29 members of a cannibal cult in Papua New Guinea. The cult is said to have 1,000 members, and has already killed and eaten the brains and penis soups of seven people.

Just a month ago, the last member of the Aum Shinkrukyo (or Aum Supreme Truth) cult, which had terrorised Japan in the 1980s and 1990s, was arrested. Police have been hunting down the cult members since they launched synchronised nerve gas attacks on Tokyo's subway system in 1995, killing 13 people and injuring thousands.

Then we had the biggest religious cult or not, depending on how you see it expos of all: the divorce of actress Katie Holmes from her Scientology faithful husband Tom Cruise. The jury on whether the Church of Scientology is a cult or real religion is still out but many see Holmes' divorce as a narrow escape from a cult.

As Hollywood Reporter editorial director Janice Min reportedly told The New York Times, the popular narrative surrounding the former Mrs Cruise was “She's been brainwashed and lobotomised. She's a zombie for Scientology'.”

So what makes a cult?

Others recruit those who have no sense of identity and those who feel that they don’t belong. The cult gives them a sense of identity. - DR GOH CHEE LEONG

Some would call the Star Trek-obsessed geeks and more recently, the Twilight-crazy, screaming mums and tweens, cultists, but many would loath to put them in the same league as the Aum Shinkrukyo disciples or Tom Cruise.

The meaning of the Latin root of the word,cultus, probably says it all: “adoration”. As the Interfaith Coalition of Concern About Cults in New York describes it, a cult is a movement or group with a self-appointed, messianic, usually charismatic, leader who uses followers' veneration upon him or her to coerce, indoctrinate and control members.


Some would call the Star Trek-obsessed geeks and more recently, the Twilight-crazy, screaming mums and tweens, cultists, but many would loath to put them in the same league as the Aum Shinkrukyo disciples or Tom Cruise.

The meaning of the Latin root of the word, cultus, probably says it all: “adoration”. As the Interfaith Coalition of Concern About Cults in New York describes it, a cult is a movement or group with a self-appointed, messianic, usually charismatic, leader who uses followers' veneration upon him or her to coerce, indoctrinate and control members.

Other characteristics include the formation of an elitist society; use of psychological techniques to deceive and manipulate members and the belief that “the end justifies the means,” especially in raising funds and recruitment. Worst of all, once joined, it is near impossible to leave.

Based on the etymological definition, some might call k-pop fandom a cult. After all, many think that the fans are being mind-controlled by the k-pop management companies to give their eternal adoration to their pop idols, or in cult-speak, “charismatic leaders”.

Perhaps then it is best to heed how Malaysia Crime Prevention Foundation chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye sees it: although there are many types of cults, not all are destructive. Most cults are harmless as long as they do not encourage crime, violence and terrorism.

Dr Goh Chee Leong, dean of HELP University's Behavioural Sciences, takes another view: the very nature of cults, especially religious cults, is unhealthy, he opines.

“It becomes unhealthy the moment a cult leader takes control of the members' lives, no matter if they are adults or minors.

“Or, when a religious leader takes away the decision-making power of a person, and controls how they live their lives, or the cults encourage them to cut their ties with their families, then it is an unhealthy threat,” says Dr Goh.

Today, while cults range from commercial and social to political, it is said that the term “cult” is mainly used to refer to new religious movements and groups with “deviant” or bizarre religious practices. (Under Malaysian law, Muslim sects not approved by the Islamic authority here are considered deviant and also regarded as cults.)

Crucially, cults are present in all religions, and there are even inter-faith cults such as the Singapore-based Sathiyameyjeyam.

American clinical psychologist Dr Margaret Singer estimated that in the 5,000 over cults in the US, a majority are religious-based. In Britian, the Cult Information Centre puts the rough figure at 500.

In Malaysia, the Islamic Development Department (Jakim) has listed more than 55 deviant Islamic sects since 2009, but the number of deviant sects or cults from other religions is not clear.

To complicate the tracking effort further is the increased use of the Internet and social media network by cults today. In 2010, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) blocked 26 deviant religious sites after they received complaints from Jakim.

That same year, fugitive leader of the Sky Kingdom or Teapot cult in Trengganu, Ayah Pin, allegedly made an appearance on Facebook to connect with his followers.

Fingers have also been pointed to the Internet as the cultivator of narcissistic and delusional “Messiah” personalities like the Putrajaya amok blogger Khalil Afandi, who purportedly ranted about the state of religion in the country for weeks before his rampage at the PM's office. His sole follower (offline) and accomplice Mudalina was also allegedly recruited online.

Still, you don't need technology to exacerbate the god complex in cult leader candidates. Just look at psychopath Charles Manson who led the mass-murdering Helter Skelter Family in California in the 1960s. Then there was Marshall Applewhite, who led the American UFO religious cult Heaven's Gate; he founded the cult in the early 1970s after a near-death experience.

What is constant are the personal traits these cult leaders prey on, with the fear of the end of the world topping the list.

Applewhite's message to his followers was to leave Earth with the help of some aliens before our home planet is “recycled”.

For many Malaysian Muslims, it is the fear of missing out on the spiritual saviour from Imam Mahadi before Judgement Day. (The story passed on from generation to generation is that only the chosen ones will recognise the true Imam Mahadi and follow his teachings while many, even the pious ones, will fall to the dark side.)

Hence, over the years, many so-called religious leaders claiming to be Imam Mahadi, including Khalil Afandi, have lured hapless followers.

That is only one aspect that cults prey on, though, warns Dr Goh.

“People are attracted to cults for various different reasons,” he says.

So, who are the easy targets?

To Salleh Ahmad, former president of the Malaysian Ulama Association, likely victims of religious cults are those with a shallow understanding of religion.

What many will find worrying, however, is what information resources on cults like Britain's Cult Information Centre list as “the people most wanted by cults”: intelligent, idealistic, well-educated, economically advantaged, intellectually or spiritually curious, and any age.

Anyone can be vulnerable and gullible to the lure of the cult, consultant clinical psychologist Dr Alvin Ng says.

“You don't have to be lowly educated to be gullible, you can also be highly educated,” he adds, noting that even a PhD holder can be recruited into a cult.

Dr Ng refutes another notion: it is not caused by a mental illness either.

As he highlights, a majority of those who join cults are mentally normal: only roughly 20% suffer from a mental illness.

According to Dr Goh, the easy targets are those who are not independent minded and are emotionally or psychologically dependent on other people.

“It's what we call a vulnerable and dependent personality,” he notes, stressing that members do not “join” a cult, but are recruited by a cult.

He cautions that different religious cults have different recruitment strategies and target different types of people.

“For example, some target people who are very lonely and looking for relationships, so the cults will use very friendly young people to attract the new recruits and give them a sense of community.

“Others recruit those who have no sense of identity and those who feel that they don't belong. The cult gives them sense of identity and family,” Dr Goh theorises.

Then there are religious cults which target people who are searching for emotional experiences, he adds. “The cults provide them with very strong, intense emotional experiences.”

The Young Buddhist Association of Malaysia adds another target people with problems such as illness, investment failure and marital discord. When people are desperate to find a solution to their problems, they would easily consider the comfort of the cults as the last resort, says its secretary-general Sek Chin Yong.

Dr Goh believes that most of the religious cults target young people and advises parents to constantly be on the lookout for warning signs.

“If the parents notice sudden changes in their children's behaviour such as withdrawal from their studies, their normal groups of friends and normal interests, then they should be cautious. Another sign is if their children are spending too much time with a religious group,” he warns.

Ultimately, he stresses, isolation in families is a major factor driving children into the arms of religious cults.

“It is important not to put the blame on parents - there are many instances when the parents are very committed and spend a lot of time with their children but their children still end up in religious cults. But parents who don't engage with their children will increase the risk of them joining religious cults.”



By HARIATI AZIZAN sunday@thestar.com.my Source: The STAR Online Home Opinion Education Sunday July 15, 2012

Messiah personalities behind deviant groups

EVERY generation is said to have its Pied Piper, gurus and messiahs. Here are some of the “religious” cults that have left the biggest cuts over the years:

Heaven's Gate

Founded in the early 1970s by Marshall Applewhite and Bonnie Nettles, the American UFO religion-based Heaven's Gate preached about how planet Earth would be “recycled” wiped clean, renewed, refurbished and rejuvenated and that the only chance of survival was to contact an alien space craft and evacuate earth.

Applewhite managed to convince his followers that this could only be achieved through mass suicide, and on March 26, 1997, police discovered 39 bodies of the cult members, including Applewhite, who had killed themselves by eating pudding and drinking Vodka laced with poison.

Al-Arqam

By the time it was banned in 1994, Al Arqam, which was founded in 1968 by Ashaari Mohammad (pic), had an estimated 100,000 followers. Many lived in their own communes, following a lifestyle based on Ashaari's teachings.

Members believed that Ashaari had supernatural powers and was receiving messages directly from the Prophet in his dreams. Even when he was under house arrest, he was not deterred. In 1997, Ashaari foundedRufaqa Corporation, allegedly as a guise to recruit new members for the revival of Al Arqam. Ashaari may have passed away in 2010 but his disciples are still continuing his “teachings”.



Sky Kingdom

It was tagged as the “teapot” cult after pictures of a large teapot and vase in its commune's compound went viral on the Internet. The Sky Kingdom (or Kerajaan Langit) was founded by Ariffin Mohammed or Ayah Pin, who claims to have direct contact with the heavens and is believed by his followers to be the reincarnation of Jesus, Buddha, Shiva, and Muhammad. Devotees of Sky Kingdom considered Ayah Pin as the king of the sky and after his death will return as a messiah. In 2005, the Government banned the movement and demolished the commune but Ayah Pin managed to escape. He now resides in exile in Narathiwat, Thailand.


The Church of Scientology



American author L. Ron Hubbard reportedly developed Scientology, a body of beliefs and related practices, from his self-help system called Dianetics. Proclaiming Scientology as a religion in 1953, Hubbard founded the Church of Scientology.

Scientology teaches that people are immortal beings who have forgotten their true nature. Its method of spiritual rehabilitation is a type of counselling known as “auditing”, in which practitioners try to re-live traumatic events from their past. The followers, many of whom are celebrities, can get “Scientology study materials and audition courses” after making big donations. Although Scientology is legally recognised as a religion in the US, it has not received a religious status in other countries like France, Germany, Britain and Canada.

Lady Gaga

It is sometimes difficult to tell fandom apart from cultdom but gender-bending pop artiste Lady Gaga seems to have struck fear in many parents in Asia when she went on her world tour recently, and I'm not talking about Malaysia. In South Korea, conservative Christian groups called her Mother Monster and slammed her for her “satanic” dance moves and “intolerable” outfits. Groups in Indonesia staged violent riots to prevent her from performing on their shores and spreading her “evil” influence. The Asian fans, especially teens, adore her, of course.



Benevolent Missionary Association

In 2009, police stormed into a house in Penampang, Sabah, after receiving complaints from neighbours about noisy chanting and foul smells, and found a decomposing body on an altar. The deceased turned out to be Ching Chi Vui @ Ivan, who was the leader of a religious cult, the Benevolent Missionary Association. The followers of the cult had wrapped the body of their leader in plastic for 13 months after his death so that they could pray for him to be resurrected. It was learnt that this was done on his instruction before he died, as he had promised his followers he would come back to life.

Source: The STAR Online Home News Nation Sunday July 15, 2012