But islam is a religion of peace! Oh, that’s right, it’s not…
No Terrorist Like an Old Terrorist:
Indonesian cleric Abu Bakar Bashir on Thursday denied leading an Al-Qaeda-style group that was plotting attacks and assassinations in Indonesia, as his trial resumed amid tight security.
But he said that Muslims carrying out weapons training did so as a divinely-ordered “act of worship” so as to “defend Islam”.
The preacher, who is revered by Islamists around the region, is accused of leading a militant group that was discovered last year training recruits in Aceh province to wage jihad or holy war.
Police jostled with about 200 of the 72-year-old’s supporters who tried to enter the court as he arrived under tight guard amid shouts of “Allahu akbar” (God is greatest).
Wearing his usual white robes, skull cap and shawl, Bashir smiled and looked calm as he was escorted through the crowd by members of the elite Detachment 88 anti-terror police squad.
“I am convinced that based on Islamic sharia (law), the physical and weapons training in a mountainous area in Aceh was an act of worship by Muslims as ordered by God to deter Muslim enemies,” he said, reading from a 90-page defence document.
“They are in fact mujahedin (holy warriors) who were struggling to defend Islam from attacks by America, Australia and their allies.” He called the democratically elected government “poisonous” for its failure to outlaw a minority Muslim sect which has suffered from years of persecution and violence at the hands of Islamic extremists.
Bashir could face the death penalty if convicted of the charges, which include leading and financing a terrorist group and supplying illegal weapons.
The so-called Al-Qaeda in Aceh group was planning Mumbai-style attacks using squads of suicide gunmen against Westerners, police and political leaders including President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, according to police.
Its operations leader, Indonesian bomb maker Dulmatin, was killed by police in March last year. Scores of other members of the group have been killed or captured.
Bashir denies any involvement in terrorism and claims he is being framed by the United States and its allies including “the Jews” [always with the Jooooz - Ed].
“Based on the facts I have no doubt that Detachment 88 is God’s enemy,” he said, referring to the US-backed anti-terror squad which has killed and captured hundreds of terror suspects since its was formed in 2003.
Bashir is an alleged co-founder of the Jemaah Islamiyah regional terror organisation blamed for multiple attacks including the 2002 Bali bombings which killed 202 people, mainly Western tourists. Bashir claims that attack was actually a US missile strike.
The Islamic teacher, whose former students read like a Who’s Who of Indonesian extremism, served almost 26 months behind bars for the Bali bombings but his conviction was overturned after his release in 2006.
Prosecutors have also unsuccessfully charged him with involvement in church bombings in 2000 and the Marriott hotel attack in Jakarta in 2003.
Two years after his release from prison Bashir founded another group, Jemaah Ansharut Tauhid (JAT), to continue agitating for sharia law.
Police say JAT was a front for a new campaign of terrorism in the world’s most populous Muslim-majority state.
But Bashir said the Aceh group was only doing what had been “ordered by God to deter Muslim enemies so that they won’t dare to harm Muslim communities”.
Some 80 percent of Indonesia’s 240 million people are Muslims and the country has a reputation as a bastion of pluralist tolerance [..with the gullible. It also has its own Sharia state, Aceh, where stoning is legal - Ed], but its moderate image has been shaken by recent attacks on religious minorities including Christians and the Ahmadiyah Islamic sect.
Part of Bashir’s rambling defence was an attack on Ahmadiyah as “infidel”. “If the government is unable to disband them, we have to dissolve the government,” he said.
Ba’asyir was almost certainly behind the Bali bombings and the Jakarta Marriott and Ritz hotel bombings of 2009 – but for some reason the Indonesian authorities never quite seem able to pin anything on this hateful old man.
He also publicly stated that the victims of the latter attacks deserved to die.
But the most worrying aspect of this man is the fact that he is allowed by the Indonesian authorities to run a boarding school in Solo, Java with 2000 pupils; who are all indoctrinated with his extreme views from the moment they arrive until the moment they graduate.
So, in addition to being a terrorist and a terror supporter himself, cleric Ba’asyir also co-founded and runs a fully-functional potential terrorist factory – the al-Mukmin Islamic Academy.
It’s about time Indonesia shut him down – but do they have the political will to do so?
We doubt it.