Indonesia: Muslim cleric arrested over ties to Bali bombing group

  • A senior Muslim cleric has been arrested over allegations he raised funds for the Al-Qaeda-linked terror network behind the Bali nightclub bombings and other attacks, police said on 17 Nov 21.
  • Ahmad Zain An-Najah, a member of top Islamic organisation the Indonesian Ulema Council, and two associates were charged with setting up a charity organisation that diverted money to Jemaah Islamiyah (JI).
  • “This institution was created to obtain funding under the cover of social and educational purposes, and part of the funds collected was used to mobilise JI,” National Police spokesman Brig. Gen. Rusdi Hartono told reporters on 17 Nov 21.
  • The cleric worked in the council’s fatwa division, which is in charge of issuing religious edicts, police said.
  • Terror groups in Indonesia, which has suffered a string of attacks since the 2002 Bali attacks, have used charities as a cover to raise funds to finance their operations, authorities have said previously.
  • JI was nearly dismantled by authorities after bombs ripped through nightclubs on the holiday island of Bali, killing more than 200 people including scores of tourists in what remains Indonesia’s deadliest terror attack.
  • But the organisation has been rebuilding and its spiritual leader Abu Bakar Bashir was released from prison 2021 after serving time on terror-related charges.

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