From sex to murder: The dark face of Indonesian cults

Published on 25 Oct 2016 3:28:13 PM

Some people seem hardly able to differentiate between spiritualism and shamanism, given the fact that they are seeking cults to indulge their spiritual thirst without really exploring the insight of the groups.

At least two scandalized cult-turns-to-crime cases have recently come to light in the world’s most populous Muslim country recently. The latest incident was the detention of cult leader Taat Pribadi, who claimed to have the ability to multiply banknotes, over alleged involvement in murder cases.

Taat, the self-proclaimed “Kanjeng Dimas” (a royal title), has rejected the allegations. However, police allege the man of Javanese-Arab descent was responsible for the deaths of some of his followers.

Before the detention of Taat, police arrested another sect leader from Sukabumi, West Java, Gatot Brajamusti, who has been accused of misusing drugs for his ritual activities including having sex with many women, aside from another indictment of possessing illegal arms.

Despite the fact that both leaders’ claim the status of “spiritual guru”, the police have named them as suspects.

The public have been puzzled not only by the news and publication of these sensational cases but also surprised by the many prominent individuals, educated people and famous artists, who have joined the groups.

One of the most prominent devotees is Marwah Daud Ibrahim. She used to lead the Indonesian Muslim Intellectuals Association (ICMI) and worked as a research assistant for both the World Bank and the Agency for the Assessment and Application of Technology (BPPT).