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Bashir warns against Indon jihad

From correspondents in Jakarta

HARDLINE cleric Abu Bakar Bashir today told his fellow Indonesian Muslims that if they wanted to go on jihad, they should do so outside the country.

“If you want to go on jihad, do not do it here (in Indonesia), but in the southern Philippines or even in Iraq,” Bashir told members and supporters of the Indonesian Mujahideen Council (MMI) in a sermon at a mosque in Kediri, East Java province, the state Antara news agency said.

Bashir chairs the MMI, an umbrella organisation advocating the implementation of Islamic Sharia law.

His sermon came as he was commenting on the “jihad” by the key players in the 2005 Bali bombings, for which he had been accused of advance knowledge and of having sanctioned the action.

He said that the Bali bombers had been on jihad but unfortunately “not at the right time or place”. He did not elaborate.

“Therefore I ask MMI followers not to imitate them because (their actions) are harmful. They miscalculated,” Bashir said.

Some 20 bystanders were killed in the October 2005 suicide bomb attacks on restaurants in the resort island of Bali.

Bashir, 68, was released from jail in June after serving just over two years for his role in a “sinister conspiracy” that led to the earlier 2002 Bali bombings, which killed 202 people, including 88 Australians.

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