Radical Islamist Cleric Is Arrested In Indonesia : NPR
“The United States is behind this!” shouted the white-bearded cleric, who was wearing his traditional flowing white robe. “This arrest is a blessing … I will be rewarded by Allah!”
The fiery 72-year-old is best known as one of the co-founders and spiritual head of Jemaah Islamiyah, the al-Qaida-linked network responsible for a string of suicide bombings in the world’s most populous Muslim nation, including the 2002 attacks on Bali island that killed 202 people, most of them Western tourists.
Bashir has long denied links to terrorism. He was one of the founders of al-Mukmin boarding school in the Central Java town of Solo that produced some of the country’s deadliest bombers.
Monday’s arrest was the first time Bashir was directly linked to planning terrorist attacks instead of merely inspiring them with his anti-Western rhetoric calling for Islamic theocracy, said police spokesman Maj. Gen. Edward Aritonang. He accused the preacher of helping set up and fund a new terror cell in westernmost Aceh province.