The beleaguered Ahmadiyah sect has tried to clarify its beliefs, with the national secretary of Ahmadiyah Indonesia, Zafrullah Pontoh, saying it had never claimed Mirza Ghulam Ahmad as their prophet.
Rather, he was the “Promised Messiah, a savior for Muslims, Christians and Jews.”
“We believe in the Holy Prophet Muhammad as the messenger of the last religion, which is Islam. We follow Islam as the final religion,” Zafrullah told the Jakarta Globe on Tuesday.
He denied they were too afraid to say they believed Mirza Ghulam Ahmad was the Prophet and were hiding their true beliefs to avoid further persecution.
Religious Affairs Minister Suryadharma Ali has repeatedly called for the sect to be banned, claiming members cannot consider themselves followers of Islam because they did not believe Muhammad was the final monotheist prophet. Nor did they consider the Koran as their holy book.
Anti-Ahmadiyah violence has increased since 2008, when Indonesia banned the sect from any public displays or teaching. Earlier that year the sect had to give the government a statement explaining the core contents of the religion. Zafrullah said this was to “avoid unrest and disruption to peace and order.”
“This limits us from explaining our beliefs to the public,” he said. “As a result, people receive second-hand information and stick with it.”