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Published: Thursday May 13, 2010 MYT 6:46:00 PM
Updated: Thursday May 13, 2010 MYT 8:04:03 PM

Al-Arqam founder Ashaari dies (Updated)

IPOH: The founder of the banned Al Arqam movement, Ashaari Muhammad, died of lung infection at the Ipoh Specialist Hospital here Thursday. He was 73.

Ashaari, who was also Global Ikhwan Sdn Bhd chairman, was admitted to the hospital three days ago, while visiting the company's network here.

Affectionately known as Abuya to his followers, Ashaari breathed his last at 2.10pm, said a spokesman of the hospital.

A Global Ikhwan employee, Marzuki Hussein, 57, said Ashaari, who arrived here after visiting Thailand and Kedah, was rushed to the hospital on Monday after complaining of chest pain.

Speaking to reporters after a funeral prayer for the late Ashaari at a company's guest house here, Marzuki said Ashaari would be buried in his home town, Rembau.

Ashaari's hearse left for his family home in Kampung Pilin, Rembau at 5.30pm.

Al Arqam was banned by the National Fatwa Council in August 1994, while Ashaari was detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA) from Sept 2 to 24, 2004 before he was placed under restricted residence in Rawang and later in Labuan for 10 years.

Al-Arqam or Jamaah Aurad Muhammadiah's activities reached a peak in late 80s and 90s, when it was reported to have about 10,000 followers.

The movement, which is said to spread deviationist Islamic teachings through missionary activities, also branched out into educational, publishing, commercial and agricultural activities. - Bernama