CAIRO - At the help of Muslim groups and religious authorities, dozens of followers of a deviant group in Indonesia on Thursday, January 17, reverted to Islam.
We really appreciate the move from those former Ahmadiyyah followers, Dadang Romansyah, office head of the Tasikmalaya Religious Affairs Ministry, told The Jakarta Post.
Some 36 followers of Ahmadiyyah reverted to Islam at a ceremony at Agung Grand Mosque in Tasikmalaya in West Java.
They pronounced the Shahadah (the proclamation of faith) and embraced Islam.
There have been around 400 out of 3,000 Ahmadiyyah followers that have converted to Islam, Dadang said.
Ahmadiyyah has been declared a deviant group by the Indonesia Ulemas Council (MUI), the country's highest Muslim authority.
Ahmadiyyah was founded in the beginning of the 20th century by Ghulam Ahmed, from the village of Qadiyan in Punjab.
He claimed to be a Messenger of God and his followers believe Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessing be upon him) was the best but not last Prophet.
In 1914, the sect was divided with the overwhelming majority belonging to the Ahmadiyyah Community, also known as Qadyanis, while the other minor group is known as the Lahore Ahmadiyyah.
The Lahore group does not believe in Ghulam Ahmad as a prophet but rather as Mujaddid (renovator) but still believes Prophet Muhammad was not the last prophet.
Scholars of Islam unanimously consider the followers of both groups to be non-believers.
The new Muslims will get religious counseling to help them understand their new religion.
We do the counseling in a casual way, said Muhammad Sofyan, from the Tasikmalaya branch of Islam Defender Front (FPI), which helped the Ahmadiyyah followers to return to Islam.
I often visit Kutawaringin to preach. Thank God, they were encouraged [to convert to Islam].
The new converts will also be enlisted in a new group called the Association of Ahmadiyah Former Victims (Inkasa) to help get government help.
They would also be trained in animal husbandry, fisheries and agriculture to help them make ends meet.
We and the ministry promise to give attention to their financial situation, Sofyan said.
Ahmadiyyahs have come under attacks in recent months in the Muslims-majority county.
In 2011, three people were killed when hundreds of people stormed an Ahmadiyah's village in Cikeusik, Banten.
For Rani Rahmawati, 26, reverting to Islam was out of his free choice.
She said she only followed Ahmadiyyah teachings because her parents, who are followers of the deviant group.Indonesia is the world's most populous Muslim state with Muslims making up around 85 percent of its 237-million population.