Indonesian sect leader announces return to mainstream Islam

Jakarta, Indonesia - A controversial Indonesian Muslim sect leader claiming to be a prophet has announced his return to mainstream Islam, while police said an investigation into whether he had blasphemed would go on.

The leader of the Al Qiyadah Al Islamiyah sect, Ahmad Mushaddeq, handed himself into police last week after state prosecutors had called for him to be questioned.

The sect was declared deviant in a religious edict by the country's chief authority on Islam, the Indonesian Council of Ulemas, two months ago.

Mushaddeq's insistence that he was a prophet ran counter to mainstream Islamic teachings that Mohammed was the final prophet and could see him jailed for up to five years under Indonesia's contempt of religion laws.

But the leader said during a press conference held at Jakarta police headquarters that he retracted all his earlier statements asserting that he was a prophet and said he was just "a regular human being".

"I call on all of my followers to be calm, to repent and return to Islam and obey the law," he said.

He begged for Indonesian Muslims to forgive him and his followers "if we offended and created uneasiness, and I hope that we can be accepted back as brothers in faith."

Several similar sects have emerged in Indonesia in the past few years.