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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.