Religious freedom in Indonesia is about to take a step backwards with the Office of the Attorney General about to issue a decision prohibiting members of Ahmadiyah from practicing their faith. In fact the prohibition goes further than just prohibiting the practice but must in fact be construed as a decision to criminalize a religion and the practice of its fundamental beliefs.
The faith itself is not new (much newer than the Islam from which it derives) and neither are the claims that it is a heretical faith and a distortion of true Islam. The main problem was a claim that the individual that established the faith, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (picture borrowed from Wikipedia), claimed to be a prophet. Islam tends to teach that Muhammad was the last prophet of Islam so anyone that messes with that one is likely to come under some scrutiny! This is in spite of a 12-point denial issued by Ahmadiyah where they re-asserted that their teachings were not heretical but rather in conformance with traditional views of Islam.
The National Alliance for the Freedom of Religion and Faith (Aliansi Kebangsaan untuk Kebebasan Beragama dan Berkeyakinan / AKKBB) in a press conference today (14 April 2008) called on the Office of the Attorney General not to criminalize Ahmadiyah and their faith because Indonesia was a country based on the rule of law and the Constitution. The inference here is that Indonesia is not a country based on the rights or interests of certain groups wanting to dictate debate and action.