Abu Bakar Bashir weighs in on a variety of subjects, and expresses a desire to preach in Australia — “to save people.” In this brief, but wide-ranging interview, he very clearly spells out the nature of the Sharia law he wants to impose on the rest of the world. From the Australian Broadcasting Corporation:
MARK COLVIN: When John Howard recently met Indonesia’s President Yudhoyono, he specifically requested that Indonesia apply tight controls to the spiritual leader of the terrorist organisation Jemaah Islamiah, Abu Bakar Bashir.
He told the President that UN Security Council Resolution 1267, covering terrorists connected to al-Qaeda among others, obliged Indonesia to place Bashir under surveillance, freeze his assets and prevent him from travelling overseas.
But now in an exclusive interview, Abu Bakar Bashir has revealed that he’s free to travel wherever he likes. In fact, he says he wants to travel to Australia to promote his harsh vision of a perfect world governed by Taliban-style Sharia law.
Abu Bakar Bashir spoke to our Indonesia Correspondent Geoff Thompson.
GEOFF THOMPSON: Abu Bakar Bashir, now that you’re a free man, what are your plans? Will you be pushing for Sharia law just in Indonesia or also perhaps some day in Australia?
ABU BAKAR BASHIR (translated): As a Muslim, I’m obliged to bring Islamic Sharia into practice and to advise other Muslims to also bring the Islamic Sharia into practice. In Indonesia I’m also trying to make the Sharia become the official law of the country, as the majority of Indonesian people are Islamic people.
That would be fair, but in Australia, it’s not, because Islam is in minority. But I would suggest in Australia that Muslims should practice Sharia as much as they can, because it’s an obligation.
GEOFF THOMPSON: And what about the question of wanting to travel to Australia to preach? It seems unlikely you’ll be allowed to do so.
ABU BAKAR BASHIR (translated): Well, I have no problem with it. My only objective, my only aim is to help mankind save itself by preaching Islam. God willing, if the situation changes it will still be possible to go there. But if I can’t go there that’s not a problem. It’s not a problem. At least I tried. My aim is to preach, to save people, that’s all. With Islam.
GEOFF THOMPSON: And what about travelling overseas?
ABU BAKAR BASHIR (translated): Well, that one is not limited.
The Indonesian Government is not putting any limit on it, but of course I’m aware of how much John Howard’s Government wants to limit me. The Australian Government’s side keeps after me. So there is no limit on me travelling overseas, I’m allowed to travel anywhere I want to.
But for instance, it would be impossible to go to Australia, because if I go there, I may get arrested and slandered by the Australian Government. They still consider me their enemy without giving clear reasons.
GEOFF THOMPSON: In an Indonesia governed by Sharia law, what would be the punishments for stealing, adultery, and homosexuality?
ABU BAKAR BASHIR (translated): For instance, for stealing, their hands should be cut off, whether or not the thief is a Muslim. This is the criminal law. It has nothing to do with worship, but to maintain security.
But there are conditions, so not all thieves will have their hands cut off. If he was only stealing because he was hungry, it is said in Islam that this person should not be punished.
A bit of tu quoque, with the slight problem that the Old Testament prescriptions regarding stoning haven’t been carried out in quite some time:
Regarding homosexuals and adulterers, they should be punished according to Sharia. Jewish and Christian people, I think, they will also punish adulterers by stoning them. This rule comes from the Old Testaments. The Koran also adopts it from the Old Testaments. So, Koran also adopts what’s written in the Old Testament and the Bible, such as stoning.
If the person is not married, then the punishment will be to cane him 100 times. If the person is married, then the punishment will be stoning.
GEOFF THOMPSON: Under Sharia law, in some circumstances, would husbands be entitled to beat their wives?
ABU BAKAR BASHIR (translated): In Islam it is allowed for a husband to beat his wife, if the wife has already been corrected. So there are some steps.
First, he should remind and advise his wife. If she still disobeys, then he should leave here, not asking her to sleep together. If she still behaves badly, then he can beat her. But not on her face, not to injure her physically.
GEOFF THOMPSON: Abu Bakar Bashir, under Sharia law, how would you punish someone who criticised Islam or the Prophet?
ABU BAKAR BASHIR (translated): To the people who insult the Prophet, they should be first corrected. If the person is a Muslim, he or she should be given advice, so that they’ll ask forgiveness. Otherwise he will be considered an apostate, and in Islam he should be sentenced to death if he doesn’t ask forgiveness and insults the Prophet.
But if the one who insults the Prophet is an infidel, then first we should find out whether the insult was based on ignorance, or he is doing it intentionally. If it was only because of his ignorance, then we should teach him. But if he is doing it intentionally, then we’ll have to fight with him, maybe even kill him.
MARK COLVIN: The spiritual leader of Jemaah Islamiah, Abu Bakar Bashir, speaking to our Indonesia Correspondent Geoff Thompson.