Katharina R. Lestari, Jakarta
Updated: November 17, 2021 08:44 AM GMT
Indonesian police escort 57-year-old Zulkarnaen, a senior leader of the al-Qaeda-linked Jemaah Islamiyah, who had been on the run for his alleged role in the 2002 Bali bombings, on arrival at Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Tangerang on Dec. 16, 2020. (Photo: AFP)
Indonesia’s anti-terror police have arrested a member of the Jakarta-based Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) and two other suspected terrorists linked to Jamaah Islamiyah (JI), which is responsible for a number of attacks across Southeast Asia.
Densus 88 arrested Ahmad Zain An-Najah from the MUI’s Fatwa Commission as well as Farid Ahmad Okbah and Anung Al-Hamat, chairman of the Indonesian People’s Islamic Evangelization Party and a university professor respectively, on Nov. 16 in simultaneous operations at three different housing complexes in Bekasi, West Java province.
According to national police spokesman Ahmad Ramadhan, An-Najah was involved in JI’s advisory board and chaired the Sharia body of Baitul Maal Abdurrahman Bin Auf set up to raise funds.
The charity, which was established in 2004 and has several branches around the country, is known for helping orphanages and Islamic boarding houses.
Police, however, claimed that it was a cover to entice people into donating to the charity, with some of the money raised going to JI, which has been involved in several deadly attacks in Indonesia including attacks on churches.
Early this month, police froze the charity’s bank accounts following the arrest of its chairman, who was not named, in Lampung province in late October.
We encourage all social elements to focus on the common interest for the sake of national unity and peace
Referring to the two other suspected terrorists, Ramadhan said Okbah played a significant role on JI’s advisory board and charity foundation and Al-Hamat had the responsibility to supervise all JI’s members.
On Nov. 17, MUI issued a seven-point written statement, a copy of which was obtained by UCA News, saying that An-Najah’s alleged involvement in the terror group “is his personal affair” and “has nothing to do with MUI.”
“We let law enforcement officers deal with the whole legal process. We also call on them to work professionally by prioritizing the principle of presumption of innocence and fulfilling his right to a fair trial,” they said, expressing their commitment to support law enforcement officers in accordance with their fatwa on terrorism.
MUI suggested that people should prevent themselves from being provoked by certain groups making use of the situation for their own sake.
“We encourage all social elements to focus on the common interest for the sake of national unity and peace,” they said.
They also asserted that MUI has suspended An-Najah “until there is a final legal decision” on his case.
….as we enter the last months of 2021, we are asking readers like you to help us keep UCA News free.
For the last 40 years, UCA News has remained the most trusted and independent Catholic news and information service from Asia. Every week, we publish nearly 100 news reports, feature stories, commentaries, podcasts and video broadcasts that are exclusive and in-depth, and developed from a view of the world and the Church through informed Catholic eyes.
Our journalistic standards are as high as any in the quality press; our focus is particularly on a fast-growing part of the world - Asia - where, in some countries the Church is growing faster than pastoral resources can respond to – South Korea, Vietnam and India to name just three.
And UCA News has the advantage of having in its ranks local reporters who cover 23 countries in south, southeast, and east Asia. We report the stories of local people and their experiences in a way that Western news outlets simply don’t have the resources to reach. And we report on the emerging life of new Churches in old lands where being a Catholic can at times be very dangerous.
With dwindling support from funding partners in Europe and the USA, we need to call on the support of those who benefit from our work.