Taking a page from Pakistani jihad groups like Jamaat-ud-Dawa, Bashir simply launched a new entity to continue the same business as before. “Indonesian cleric Bashir back on police radar: analyst,” from Agence France-Presse, July 7:
JAKARTA (AFP) – Radical Indonesian cleric Abu Bakar Bashir is back under a police microscope for his alleged support of terrorist activity, a security analyst said on Tuesday.
International Crisis Group expert Sidney Jones said in a new briefing report that Bashir had been on the police radar since May when officers raided his group’s headquarters in Jakarta and arrested three of his followers.
The three members of Bashir’s Jamaah Ansharut Tauhid (JAT) were charged with raising funds for a terror training camp uncovered by police in Aceh province in February.
“On May 12, police carried out a reconstruction of a meeting in South Jakarta involving two men now in custody known to have served as camp instructors and another, who wore a large name tag reading ‘Abu Bakar Bashir’,” Jones said in the report.
“JAT’s alleged involvement in fundraising and combat training immediately led to speculation that another arrest of 72-year-old Bashir was imminent.”
Jailed and released in 2006 for his role as a spiritual leader of the Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) regional terror network, Bashir founded JAT in 2008 as a legitimate — although radical — body with which to continue agitating for Islamic law and militant jihad.
But Jones said there was growing evidence that JAT had a “dark side” of supporting violence in pursuit of a hardline Islamic state in the mainly Muslim archipelago.
And they find your lack of faith disturbing.
“That public face gives ‘plausible deniability’ to what appears to be covert support on the part of a small inner circle for the use of force,” she said.
Bashir’s arrest for a third time would not have a significant impact on the jihadist movement in the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country, as he was “neither the driving force behind it now nor its leading ideologue”.
“He has numerous critics among fellow jihadis who cite his lack of strategic sense and poor management skills,” Jones added.
“The truth is that the jihadi project has failed in Indonesia. The rifts and shifting alignments so evident now in the jihadi community are a reaction to that failure.
“There is no indication that violent extremism is gaining ground. Instead, as with JAT?s formation, we are seeing the same old faces finding new packages for old goods.”
JI is blamed for the 2002 attacks on Bali nightspots that killed more than 200 people, mostly Western tourists, as well as numerous other deadly bombings.