Widow of Arqam founder repents, vows to refund funds taken from charity homes

New Straits Times, Singapore/November 8, 2013

By Eunice Au

Shah Alam -- Hatijah Aam, the widow of Al-Arqam's founder today pledged to return any funds her company Global Ikhwan Sdn Bhd (GISB) may have misappropriated from their charity homes.
The GISB executive chairman said the company was in the process of rebranding into a foundation to prevent any mishandling of funds.

"Now that we have repented, we are settling the necessary processes," she said during a press conference after proclaiming her repentance and denouncing the Al-Arqam ways together with 300 followers in a public ceremony at the Concorde Hotel, Section 9 here today.

She further acknowledged that if GISB had taken anything from the orphans, they would return it.

In August, a former manager of three charity homes owned by GISB had lodged a police report against the Al-Arqam leader alleging that there was misconduct and irregularities in the allocation of funds from charity homes run by GISB.

Roslina Ibrahim, 50, had claimed that the funds raised for the homes were not used for the welfare of the orphans but instead utilised to expand the Al-Arqam faith.

Hatijah stressed that she had already stopped practicing the deviant Al-Arqam faith and promised to ensure her followers also repented and returned to the right path.

Denying accusations that she and her followers had only repented publicly to escape legal action, she said many of the Al-Arqam followers, including herself, had previously been charged for violating the fatwa declaring Al-Arqam as a deviant sect.

"Why did we not repent then to escape the law? We were willing to take so many risks for our faith then.

"If not for the Selangor Islamic Religious Council's (JAIS) gentle approach, we would have been ready to face a court trial," she said.

During the press conference, Selangor deputy mufti Datuk Abdul Majid Omar said it was not necessary for Hatijah to list all the things she had repented as repentance was done in entirety.

"We are confident that her penitence is sincere and genuine," he said.

Present to witness the ceremony, which was organised by JAIS, were JAIS director Datuk Marzuki Hussin, Abdul Majid and state EXCO Sallehen Mukhyi.

The ceremony was attended by 325 managers under GISB, with 47 of them Indonesians, 10 Singaporeans, nine Thais, seven Australians, one South African and the remainder were Malaysians.

Aziah Mohd Jani, 52, one of the GISB managers in Pahang, said she realised that she had been following deviant teachings after sitting through JAIS's religious courses.

"One of the things I no longer practice is the 'pencak', a type of exercise we used to do after prayers," she said after the ceremony.

On Thursday, Hatijah and 17 other followers were placed under a one-year good behaviour bond after they pleaded guilty to contravening the fatwa by continuing with deviant teachings.

Judge Kamarulzaman Ali also ordered them to undergo 500 hours of moral rehabilitation course under the supervision of JAIS's Dakwah division.

Hatijah was also fined RM1,000 in default 14 days' jail after she pleaded guilty to a charge of publishing a book on deviant teachings.

She and her followers were arrested at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport upon returning from Saudi Arabia last May.

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