The Al-Qiyadah al-Islamiyah Islamic sect is “misguided”, leader Ahmad Moshaddeq said publicly on Friday.
Ahmad told a press conference at Jakarta Police headquarters that he acknowledged that Prophet Muhammad was the last prophet and that every Muslim must pray five times a day.
“I’m so sorry if I have hurt the feelings of Indonesian Muslims. I hope that they can forgive me and my followers,” he said.
He added that he had been quoted by mass media as saying that he was the new prophet after Muhammad and that God ordered him to purify the prophet’s teachings.
“I realize that there isn’t and there won’t be any other prophets but Muhammad until judgment day,” he said.
After meeting with Islamic leaders on Thursday and Friday at the city police headquarters, Ahmad promised he would stop spreading his teachings.
As al-Qiyadah was banned by the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) on Tuesday, he ordered his disciples to obey the rule and not to spread his teachings any more.
Al-Qiyadah has approximately 41,000 disciples in nine cities nationwide, 60 percent of which are students, according to the police.
Some al-Qiyadah followers are in police custody in various parts of the country.
Acting city police spokeswoman Adj. Sr. Comr. Sri Wuri Handayani said the police would continue the legal process in Ahmad’s case.
Ahmad has been charged with blasphemy and could face a maximum penalty of five years in prison.
In the past two days, Ahmad has discussed Islam with Islamic leaders including Said Agil Siraj of Nahdatul Ulama, Amidhan of the MUI and Agus Miftach of the National Unity Front.
Bachtiar Aly from the School of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Indonesia moderated the meeting.
He said the Islamic leaders were surprised to find that Ahmad had a good understanding of Islam.
“After today’s discussion, he wrote a statement to correct the controversial issues (about al-Qiyadah) reported by the mass media,” Bachtiar said.
Ahmad said he was very happy to meet representatives from the MUI.
“I had waited for two months to meet MUI representatives,” he said.
Although al-Qiyadah was banned by the MUI, Ahmad said he would continue to spread Prophet Muhammad’s teachings.
“I understand that the government has the right to ban an organization. However, I don’t need an organization to keep spreading Islamic teachings,” he said.
Ahmad added that he would not use the name of al-Qiyadah in the future.
“Besides, what’s in a name?” he said.
Miftach said after he talked to Ahmad he believed that the sect leader understood Islam well.
Said Agil said Ahmad had realized that there were no other revelations but those contained in the Koran.