The Times presents this as a “new mission,” when in fact it has been his mission all along. “Bali terror chief’s new mission,” from the Times, with thanks to JE:
THE venerable preacher named as a terrorist leader by the United States had a twinkle in his eye as he talked of his new mission to convert Indonesia, the world’s biggest Muslim nation, into what he calls an “Allahcracy”.
Abu Bakar Bashir is a free man after serving just over two years in jail for participating in the conspiracy to bomb two nightclubs in Bali in 2002. The suicide attacks killed 202 people, including 88 Australians, 38 Indonesians and 26 British citizens.
He was in fine form, sitting with his lawyer, Akhmad Michdan, and six followers round a table at Jakarta airport strewn with the debris of a copious, if sober, lunch consumed at the expense of the infidel press.
“Bali was a reaction,” said Bashir, who has learnt to measure his inflammatory words with care since our last interview at his Islamic boarding school, three weeks before the bombings on the holiday island.
“With regard to the bombings everywhere, these are reactions by Muslims to defend themselves. Muslims are being tortured everywhere from Afghanistan to the Philippines. So these reactions against America are global.”
Bashir, 68, was flying to Sumatra on the latest stage of a celebrity preaching tour that has hardly stopped since he was released from jail last month, to the fury of the American and Australian governments.
His followers murmured in indignant approval at the words of their ustad, or teacher, several of them typing busily on BlackBerrys or mobile phones as they did so. They chuckled when he joked that he had turned down a speaking invitation from a mosque in Australia “because I”m not 100% popular there”.
“George Bush is trying to rot Islam from within,” Bashir continued, sipping a milkshake, “and America is attacking Indonesian Muslims “” with ideas. That’s why I”m fighting America “” but only with preaching and ideas, of course.”
Of course. And on that front Americans are not fighting at all.