"ABU Bakar Bashir has endorsed the deadly work of Southeast Asia's most wanted terrorist, Noordin Top, saying Allah would protect him in his fight for Islam.
The fanatical Muslim cleric, who is the spiritual adviser to the al-Mukmin Islamic school for children on the outskirts of Solo, in central Java, said if the victims of the J.W. Marriott and Ritz-Carlton suicide bombings had ever held any thoughts against Islam, they deserved to die.
Bashir refused to condemn the suicide bombings, saying the use of terror was justified in the war against infidels, or non-Muslims.
Bashir was convicted and jailed for inciting terrorism in relation to the 2002 Bali bombings and has not since moderated his views.
He is seen as the spiritual head of Jemaah Islamiah, and while he is deeply unpopular in Indonesia, he carries dangerous influence that marks him as more than a mere ranting eccentric. The 1000 boys and 1000 girls who board at the al-Mukmin school he co-founded are taught predominantly in Arabic, and are indoctrinated to his views from kindergarten through to their leaving certificate.
Bashir regularly travels across Java to other pesantrens, or Islamic schools, to speak, although on Tuesday, in the east Java town of Malang, Indonesian police reportedly banned him from giving a public lecture.
Yesterday, Bashir attacked the Australian, US and Indonesian governments. "The main cause of this disaster (the bombings) is the Indonesian government, which undermines the supremacy of Islamic law.
"This (terror) will not end until the government follows the right path."
Asked by The Australian whether he felt any sadness for the seven victims of the suicide bombings, Bashir said: "What makes me sad about the bombings was that it involved innocent people being killed.
"People such as women and children who are not involved in the fight against Muslims should not be killed.
"But the problem is we don't know for sure that the victims weren't involved in the fight against Islam. Even the thought of fighting against Islam is involvement. Everyone that thinks like that is allowed to be killed."Fifteen of his former students are said to have been directly involved in acts of terror across the region.
Asked if he was embarrassed by this, Bashir said: "There are no Muslim terrorists. The terrorists are the CIA, the Americans and the Australians. They're the ones who terrorise Muslims.
Speaking within the grounds of the al-Mukmin school, where students studied a noticeboard with newspaper accounts of the attacks, Bashir was asked whether Noordin Top, who used the school as his main recruitment ground, should be apprehended.
"If Noordin M.Top has bad intentions, then he should be apprehended," said Bashir. "If he is right, then Allah will protect him. What I know about Noordin M.Top is that he is a Malaysian who fights to defend Islam."
Bashir claimed it was not Muslim terrorists who conducted the suicide bombings. "The person who bombed the Marriott is probably influenced by the CIA, which is an enemy of Islam. It will do anything to discredit and destroy Islam in Indonesia. "Thanks to The Australian.
Meanwhile back here people are afraid to speak out in case it could be interpreted a challenge to Allah and a challenge to Islam but a few are speaking out.
Speak out and support our nations commitment to fulfilling its obligations to international treaties that prohibit torture.
Speak out and free our nation from ancient barbaric customs and traditions.