By Ainur Rohmah
TUBAN, Indonesia (AA) - Police have detained three men for leading a religious community whose settlement on the Indonesian island of Borneo was attacked earlier this year for “deviating” from traditional Islam.
Ahmad Moshaddeq, Abdul Muis Tumanurung, and Andri Cahya are charged with leading the Gerakan Fajar Nusantara movement -- better known as Gafatar. Many of the organization's members arrived home destitute in January and February this year after officials helped evacuate them from Kalimantan.
Moshaddeq -- who has spent time in prison on blasphemy charges after declaring himself a 'prophet' -- is suspected of being the proxy for another organization that has been banned by the Indonesian government, Al-Qiyadah al-Islamiya, while Tumanurung and Cahya served as Gafatar's president and vice president, respectively.
National police director for the general investigations division Brig. Gen. Agus Andrianto told Anadolu Agency on Thursday that all three had been held on suspicion of defamation of religion and face five years in prison in Indonesia -- the world’s most populous Muslim country.
"They not only practiced religious blasphemy, they also wanted to establish their own state," said Andrianto.
Police have called 52 witnesses to testify against the trio from six provinces, many of whom were members of the Borneo community.
Andrianto said that the three were arrested on Wednesday night, with police confiscating documents and books containing a mixture of teachings of Islam, Christianity, and Judaism during a raid.
"We collected the evidence. It turned out that they were incompatible religious teachings," said Andrianto, adding that police had been investigating the case since January.
"[Teachings] united the Quran, the Bible, and the Torah," he said.
In March, Indonesia's Ulema Council said that the attorney general's office has declared a fatwa calling Gafatar a heretical organization, saying its teachings could cause unrest and religious conflict.
It stated that Gafatar shared the same doctrine as Al-Qiyadah al-Islamiya, which was banned in 2007.
Earlier this year, the government was forced to repatriate thousands of members of the organization using aircraft and warships after Kalimantan residents protested and burned their settlement in the Mempawah Regency.
Thousands of local residents had earlier taken to the streets to complain about the religious community after a doctor left the neighboring area to join the movement, followed by the disappearance of hundreds of other people.