'I Am A Prophet', Lands Indonesian Man In Jail

The leader of an Indonesian sect who had controversially claimed he was a prophet has been jailed for four years for contempt against Islam.

Ahmad Mushaddeq alias Abu Salam, 63, leader of the Al Qiyadah Al Islamiyah sect, was "guilty of showing contempt in public against a religion recognised by the state," Judge Zahrul Rabaid told a packed courtroom today.

The verdict was greeted by religious chanting by hundreds of followers who had crammed South Jakarta district court since early in the morning.

A police officer said 2000 people were at the venue.

Mushaddeq's claim violated a central Islamic tenet that the Prophet Muhammad is the last prophet and will not be followed by any other messengers from God.

His group was proscribed as "deviant" by the country's top clerics last year, echoing the same charge levelled against the Ahmadiya sect this year.

Mushaddeq, who told the court he will appeal, was whisked into a police detention car that left immediately for the state prison.

Mushaddeq handed himself in to police along with six other followers in October, and has since publicly retracted his claim to being a prophet.

About 90 per cent of Indonesia's population are Muslim. Most practice a tolerant form of the religion.

Anger over Ahmadiya drew protesters on to the streets last week and the group has filed for police protection after receiving death threats.

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