Terrorism: Bali bombing mastermind finally captured… in Pakistan

Wanted -- Umar Patek (aka) Umar Kecil -- Up to...

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Umar Patek, 40, who has a US bounty of $1 million on his head and is Indonesia‘s most wanted fugitive, was arrested by Pakistani security agencies who have said they are investigating him for links to militant groups in Pakistan.

A Pakistani official said: “Right now he is being interrogated. The Indonesians want access to him and they are coming.”

Kevin Rudd, Australian Foreign Minister, said: “For us it is clear that Patek has been arrested. Furthermore, it is our view that Patek’s arrest is potentially a major step forward in the fight against terrorism.

His arrest might offer some small comfort to the nearly 100 Australian families who lost loved ones in the Bali bombings way back in 2002. Of course, his arrest does not bring anyone back.”

via Bali bombing mastermind finally captured – Telegraph.

He has been extradited to Indonesia today.

Indonesia: Christian group condemns arson on three Christian churches this week

Location of Riau in Indonesia

Location in Riau province (Indonesia). Image via Wikipedia

700 churches have been attacked in the past decade in Indonesia. And the attacks continue:

The Communion of Churches in Indonesia (PGI) today condemned arson attacks on three Christian churches earlier this week by mobs in Riau province in central Sumatra.

The coordinating body for 26 regional communions in the country also accused local governments and law enforcement agencies of doing nothing to prevent attacks on Christian places of worship.

“The PGI strongly condemns these attacks which add to a growing number of cases,” said PGI spokesman Reverend Jeiry Sumampauw.Lack of firm action by local governments, or law enforcement, are turning churches into targets,” he said.

via Christian group condemns arson – ucanews.com.

Apparently, authorities have not considered these attacks as important ones:

A Kuansing Police representative said the homes were only made of board and not real churches.

The houses were “easily burned because they were made of planks, thus flammable,” said Pangean Police Chief Adjutant Nazarudin.

He said police were investigating and called upon all residents to maintain vigilance.

Philippines: Military blames Jemaah Islamiyah for deadly bomb attack

Map of the Philippines

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Again. And again.

The military blamed al-Qaeda linked Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) for the powerful bomb blast today in the country\’s south that left two people dead and eight others wounded.
Lt. Col. Prudencio Asto, a regional military spokesman, said the attack was carried out by students of slain militant Basit Usman of Indonesian-based terrorist network JI and the al-Qaeda linked Abu Sayyaf group.

via Military blames Jemaah Islamiyah for deadly bomb attack – Home » Other Sections » Breaking News.

Indonesia: Mandatory veil and fasting as Indonesia is ‘Islamised’ during Ramadan

Muslims waiting for sunset during Ramadan in C...

Muslims waiting for sunset during Ramadan in Cairo. Image via Wikipedia

Respect to other faiths, Islamic style:

Wearing the veil for female public servants and fasting, including job loss if caught eating, are becoming compulsory in Indonesia. In some parts of the country, Ramadan has become a time of Islamisation with rules increasingly inspired by Sharia. For the authorities, fasting and praying have become compulsory, forcing Muslims to abstain from food and drink from dawn to dusk.
On Madura Island (East Java Province), Pamekasan District chief Kusairi issued a directive whereby all female employees must wear the jilbab, or headscarf. In order to promote conformity with Islamic principles, women street vendors have to conform to the obligation. For Kusairi, this will strengthen Muslim women’s faith.Restaurants and nightclubs will also have to obey the rules. During Ramadan, such places must be closed during the day until dusk. Clubs, bars and places of nightly entertainment will close for the entire month.

Note that they will be closed TOO for non-Muslims.

Representatives of the extremist Islamic Defence Front (FPI) are out at night to strike against rule-breakers.

Respecting freedom of conscience…

In Bengkulu District (Sumatra), Mayor Ahmad Kanesi said that any municipal workers caught breaking the fast would be fired. He offered a 1 million rupiah (US$ 118) reward to anyone who caught a Bengkulu civil servant breaking the fast.

via INDONESIA Mandatory veil and fasting as Indonesia is ‘Islamised’ during Ramadan – Asia News.

Indonesia: Light sentences for Muslim extremists who attacked Ahmadis

Banten province, Indonesia

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Ahmadis are heretic Muslims because they believe that the only possible and admissible jihad is a peaceful one (even a “jihad of love), and never a violent one, except in extreme persecution times, exception that is not even recognised by the whole movement.

Indonesia’s justice system is once again criticised for failing to impose lengthy sentences on people responsible for sectarian violence and crimes against minorities. The latest example came yesterday when a District Court in Serang, Banten Province (Java), handed down lenient sentences against 12 Muslims extremists for their role in a brutal assault against Ahmadi Muslims in February in Cikeusik.

The defendants received sentences of between three and six months in jail, Islamic Lawyer Team (TPM) said. Both the prosecutor and the judges said that Ahmadis (a Muslim group deemed heretical by mainstream Muslims because they do not view Muhammad as the last prophet) “provoked” the assault and so bore some responsibility.

For one of the prosecutors, M Yunis, Ahmadis “systematically provoked riots”. In reality, pressures from Muslim extremists were behind the light sentences.

Human rights activists and members of civil society groups have been outraged by the court’s decision when compared to the gravity of the facts.

via INDONESIA Light sentences for Muslim extremists who attacked Ahmadis – Asia News.

Indonesia: parishes house refugees fleeing volcano

Mount Lokon, North Sulawesi, Indonesia

Mount Lokon, North Sulawesi, Indonesia. Image via Wikipedia

Christian schools and church halls in North Sulawesi, Indonesia, are now housing 5,000 refugees–mostly Muslim–who have fled the eruption of Mount Lokon.

The Diocese of Manado, located in an area that is only 3% Catholic, is providing masks to refugees and is urging parishes to be “open and show solidarity, providing as much assistance as possible.”

via Catholic Culture : Latest Headlines : Indonesia: parishes house refugees fleeing volcano.

Indonesia: Jihadist Killed While Teaching Muslim Students the Art of Bomb Making

A man reportedly trying to show students how to make explosives was killed by a homemade bomb inside an Islamic boarding school in Indonesia, police said Tuesday.

School officials and students have prevented police from entering the building since Monday’s explosion, local police spokesman Lt. Col. Sukarman Husen said.

via Ka-Boom! Jihadist Killed While Teaching Muslim Students the Art of Bomb Making.

Saudi Arabia: Indonesian maid escapes execution

Flag Saudi Arabia

Image by erjkprunczyk via Flickr

Just three weeks ago, Darsem binti Dawud Tawar was facing execution by beheading in Saudi Arabia for murder, which she claims was an act of self-defense. Now, finally back home in Indonesia, she is a free woman — after the Indonesian government paid more than $500,000 in “blood money.”

Holding her young son tightly, as she faced the glare of the media, Darsem was reunited with her family on Wednesday at the Indonesian Foreign Ministry in Jakarta. She first left her West Java hometown for a job as a maid in the Middle East in 2006, when her son was just a baby. Continue reading

Australia: Live cattle exports to Indonesia in limbo after animal torture complaints

RSPCA official charity logo

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After Australian animals exported to Indonesia were discovered to have undergone terrible torture, little has changed:

With Australia’s live cattle exports to Indonesia still in limbo, the RSPCA is now calling for Australian abbattoirs to be banned from ritually killing animals without stunning them first.

‘The national halal standard requires most abbattoirs to stun the animals before their throat is cut, but several have been given approval to kill animals without stunning‘.

Several? How many? On what basis?

Then they interview Mr. Haliloff, one of the allowed butchers to kill cattle without stunning:

… He says most of his customers would not buy the meat if it had been stunned.

…’He says many of his customers actually watch him slaughter the animals to ensure it is halal.

More commentary over at TNER.

Indonesia: Why Bashir’s sentence does not end the Jihadi threat

An interesting comment on this important sentence, though as the article reveals it is far from ending the Jihadi threat in Indonesia:

Today’s verdict, is, in some ways a victory for Indonesia. Since the bold and bloody Bali Bombings of 2002, the archipelago nation has been under tremendous pressure to tackle terrorism. In 2003, with support from the United States and Australia, Indonesia formed Detachment 88, a counter-terror squad staffed by the elite of the country’s police and special forces. The unit has earned acclaim for its success building an extensive intelligence network and conducting undercover operations. They’ve arrested, detained or killed hundreds of leaders and foot soldiers. They’ve also made modest strides in de-radicalization. “You want to know why Indonesia has done well fighting terrorism? We have no Guantánamo prisons,” psychologist Sarlito Wirawan Sarwono, who instructs Detachment 88 officers in interrogation tactics told TIME last year. “Our police understand the terrorists’ psyches.”

To an extent, sure. But the threat persists. Even as cells are shuttered, or clerics tried, new groups emerge. Maria Ressa, an expert on radical Islam in Indonesia likens it to the spread of a virus: The ‘jihadi virus’ grew out of the crucible of Afghanistan, she says, and was carried to Southeast Asia by veterans who trained and taught in the Philippines and elsewhere.  Their ideology passed, friend to friend, family to family, changing as it spread. “The virus is resilient,” she told me recently. “It mutates.

Read more.

Abu Bakar Bashir, spiritual leader of Jemaah Islamiyah, sentenced to 15 years

This is an update on this story:

ABU BAKAR BASHIR

Image by RubyGoes via Flickr

RADICAL Indonesian cleric Abu Bakar Bashir has been found guilty of terrorism charges and sentenced to 15 years in prison.

The 72-year-old has been found guilty of using violence or the threat of violence to incite terrorism, despite the prosecution weeks ago having conceded that it would not be able to prove all elements of that charge.

The prosecution had been seeking a life sentence in relation to charges of funding terrorism, stemming from the discovery last year of a paramilitary camp in Aceh.

However, the panel of judges today effectively reinstated the more serious charge.

More here.

Indonesia: Bashir rejects terrorism charges

BashirThis is an update on this story:

Prosecutors have sought a life sentence for Bashir, who co-founded the al-Qaida-linked Jemaah Islamiyah network, which is blamed for some of Indonesia’s deadliest suicide bombings.
Bashir, 72, denies involvement with the training camp but has repeatedly defended it as legal under Islam.

The white-bearded cleric told a Jakarta court that the case against him was fabricated and witnesses that testified by teleconference were doing so under pressure.

“Therefore their testimonies could not be trusted,” he said.

Citing verses from the Quran, Bashir said he rejected the trial as against Islam.

Read more here.

Indonesia: Suicide bomber explodes inside mosque, wounds 28

Location of West Java in Indonesia

Location of West Java in Indonesia. Image via Wikipedia

From Asia News:

A suicide bomber blew himself up today at Taka mosque located in the police headquarters in Ciberon (West Java) a town about 300 km from Jakarta. The toll is about 28 wounded, including several policemen. The suicide bombing is the first in the country’s history and took place shortly before the usual Friday prayers, while the faithful were gathering inside the building. According to authorities the attack was organized by a group of Islamic terrorists in revenge for the recent anti-terrorism operations carried out by the police.

General Suparna Parto, Chief Inspector of West Java, said the suicide bomber’s explosive belt contained nails and other metallic material, and several fragments were found in the bodies of the wounded. According to the general, this system is typical of Islamic extremists in Indonesia.

According to Wawan Purwanto, an expert on intelligence, the attack marks a change of course in Indonesian Islamic terrorism and has shocked the population. “The explosion – he says – has taken place just inside a mosque during prayer.” The expert stressed that so far no extremist group had ever attacked a mosque during Friday prayers. Purwanto said that the turnaround has already begun and now the terrorists are targeting other Muslims. “In the past – he says – the targets were symbols of Western power. Now all those who are against them, such as police, may be annihilated. “

When you feed a monsted, it grows and it can end killing you.

INDONESIA: Christians say no to Christmas protection by Muslim radicals

Indonesian Christians have criticised the Islamic Defender Front (FPI), an Islamic fundamentalist group, for saying that it would protect Christian communities during Christmas celebrations. “Why would this radical group, which is notorious for its anti-Christian violence, want to be so nice to us? We say no to their offer,” a Catholic man from Semarang diocese said.

“Let Christians celebrate Christmas in peace. It is their right and all Indonesian citizens should respect that,” FPI chief Risieq Shihab said during a meeting with Police Chief Timur Pradopo on Tuesday.

Yet, the peace and protection he has in mind would only be for those Christian communities that respect Indonesia’s strict religious laws. For Shihab, his group would stop any Catholic or Protestant celebration held in violation of the law.

Another Christian in Jakarta, anonymous for security reason, said that Shihab’s offer and the FPI’s close ties to police are sound reasons to be concerned. He pointed out that Chief Pradopo was present at the 12th anniversary of the founding of the FPI.

“The extremists of the FPI want to be recognised by other parties, whilst the police uses the group (which claims thousands of members) to improve its reputation with the population,” the source said.

Background: 1, 2, 3, 4.

Saudi Arabia: Indonesian Maid Breaks Her Back to Escape Abusive Employer

Juju Nurhayati

An Indonesian maid jumped from the second floor of her employer’s house in Medina, Saudi Arabia last Saturday in a bid to escape from alleged abusive conditions.It was the second such incident in less than two weeks after an Indonesian maid in Jeddah died after falling off from the third floor of an apartment building in a similar attempt.

Juju Nurhayati suffered from a broken spine and ankles from the fall and is currently hospitalized at King Fahd’s hospital, Didi Wahyudi, an Indonesian Consulate official involved in providing protection for citizens in Saudi Arabia, told The Jakarta Globe.

The mistreatment of foreign maids in Saudi Arabia has not been widely reported but it’s a reality.

Background: 1, 2, 3.

Indonesia: ‘terror trainer’ Abu Tholut, arrested

 

Abu Tholut aka Mostafa

One of Indonesia’s most-wanted Islamic militant suspects has been arrested at his home, police say.

Abu Tholut, 49, is suspected of helping to set up a militant training camp in Aceh province, recruiting militants and raising funds for “terror activities”.

He is also suspected of plotting attacks on foreigners in Jakarta and the assassination of political leaders.

Tholut, who has served jail time in the past for explosives offences, was held without a fight in Kudus, Central Java.

Abu Tholut was deeply involved in terrorist training in Aceh and armed robberies in North Sumatra province,” national police spokesman Boy Rafli Amar told reporters.

via BBC News – Indonesia holds ‘terror trainer’ Abu Tholut.

Anyway, till Indonesia doesn’t make efforts to fight Jihadist ideology, as some experts have already told, these detentions/arrests are not going to have any effects in the long-term scenario.

Indonesia: foiled attack against Catholic shrine

In the courtyard of the shrine of the Virgin Mary in Sendand Sriningsih District of Prambanan, Yogyakarta a disabled child discovered four bottles filled with gasoline, cables and detonators, last December 1.

According to local Catholics and Mr. Ignatius Lastoyo Warne, site manager of the sanctuary, the bomb had a specific purpose: to kill hundreds of pilgrims from neighboring parishes who attended the monthly Mass in the shrine town, on December 2.

Search operations are still ongoing.

The discovery of these four homemade bombs occurred when a local Catholic, owner of a stall near the shrine, found his son playing with the suspect material: fluid-filled bottles, cables and detonators. The bombs failed to explode only because of human imprudence. The village chief, after seeing the bomb, called the police and military personnel, who immediately rushed to the scene.

Mgr. Johannes Pujasumarta Pr, Archbishop of Semarang, has asked the site manager to implement tighter security measures to avoid any provocative behavior by foreign “infiltrators“. He said: “This is a serious challenge; we must fight any behavior that can destroy religious harmony.”

Brigadier General Ondang Sutarsa, Yogyakarta police chief, confirmed that the materials found near the shrine of the Virgin Mary were used to create a bomb. During a press conference, the general explained: “This is a bomb is small, but highly flammable, since the cable was attached to bottles full of petrol.” Gunpowder and matches were also found on the site.

via INDONESIA Yogyakarta, foiled attack on Catholic shrine – Asia News.

In the last decade 700 churches have been attacked in Indonesia.

Indonesia: local authorities close Catholic school without explanation

In the city of Kamp (province of Riau – Sumatra), more than 400 children are likely to remain without an education. City authorities want to close a Catholic school of the Franciscan Sisters of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary. The decision was communicated to the sisters on Oct. 29, but so far no one has stated the real motives for the gesture and at any moment the building could be cleared.

The sisters have sent a petition to the governor of the province, the chief of police, the military commander. They have also written to the President and Parliament. Over 300 letters of protest were sent by parents to local authorities, who had previously supported the opening of the school.

Local sources tell AsiaNews that the measure has no legal basis and authorities can not prevent or suspend the educational activities in schools. The Indonesian constitution in fact allows civil foundations to build schools or educational institutions that help the State to promote education for the entire population.

The request for the establishment of the school was started in 2007, to meet the needs of the district population who for some time had been asking for an institute for their children’s education. In April 2009 the school was opened with the permission of the Indonesian Bishops’ Conference, the diocese and the local authorities and placed under the supervision of the Sacred Heart Children’s Foundation (Yayasab Puteri Hati Kudus – Yphk) and led by Sister Clarent.

via INDONESIA Sumatra: local authorities close Catholic school without explanation – Asia News.

Indonesia has an 86% of Muslim population (209 millions approx.). Among the rest there are 5.7% of Protestants, 3% Catholics and a tiny .00001 of Jewish population or 20 Jews.

During the last decade more than 700 churches were attacked in a country which want to name the late dictator Suharto “national hero”.  Between 500,000 and 1 million Communists were killed, a genocide happened in East Timor (of mainly Catholics) and has been considered as the most corrupt politician in history, with an estimated 35 billions dolars stolen from state coffers.

Opinion: Obama Praises “Jew-Free” Indonesia

More on Obama’s trip to Indonesia (1, 2) :

Obama heralds Indonesia’s political, religious diversity in latest outreach to Muslims.The U.S. President heaped praise upon Indonesia as the model of what an Islamic Country can be. He especially noted the incredible religious diversity of Indonesia when he remarked:

“Across an archipelago that contains some of G-d’s most beautiful creations, islands rising above an ocean named for peace, people choose to worship G-d as they please. Islam flourishes, but so do other faiths.”

Are other faiths in Indonesia “flourishing”? According to the latest statistics (from the U.S. government), over 86 percent of Indonesians are Muslim. That makes 209,000,000 practicing Muslims in the country. Let’s see about the other “flourishing religions”:

5.7 percent of Indonesians are Protestant

3 percent are Roman Catholic

1.8 percent are Hindu

.00001 percent are Jews

That’s right, 209,000,000 Muslims and 20 Jews.

If this is Obama’s definition of “flourishing religious diversity”, I am really worried.

Of course it’s not a problem for me. See even if I wanted to, I could never even visit Indonesia let alone live there. That’s because this “model of democracy” does not permit those with Israeli passports from entering the country. Really gives you a good feeling about Obama’s vision of Middle East peace, doesn’t it?

via Obama Praises Jew-Free Indonesia – Op-Eds – Israel National News.

I thought that this guy was delusional: how in a nation of 200 million people, could there be only 20 Jews? Well, you can see here, that Jewish religion is not even mentioned when studying Indonesian religious statistics.

Obama’s Indonesia trip: Michelle dons headscarf as she visits mosque

it was no surprise that Michelle Obama managed to be stylish and show respect to her Muslim hosts when she visited a mosque on her tour of Indonesia.

The First Lady covered her hair with a beige animal-print scarf as she toured Jakarta’s Istiqlal Mosque, the largest in southeast Asia.

via Obama’s Indonesia trip: Michelle dons headscarf as she visits mosque | Mail Online.

Stylish? That isn’t really the adjective I have in mind when I see these photos: Continue reading