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Jakarta Post

Shoemaker stoking the flames of sharia state

  • Rendi A. Witular

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Fri, August 27 2010   /  10:18 am

Once Indonesia’s public enemy number one, Mochammad Achwan, 62, has devoted the remainder of his life to consistently pushing Indonesia to become an Islamic state under sharia by any means.

Achwan’s decades of struggle has seemed to have now found direction, with firebrand cleric Abu Bakar Ba’asyir, the spiritual leader of terrorist group Jamaah Islamiyah (JI), appointing him leader of Jamaah Ansharut Tauhid (JAT).

JAT, founded by Ba’asyir in 2008, is an above-ground extremist organization harboring many former terrorists and violent jihadis. It currently has around 1,500 members mostly concentrated in Central and East Java.

Under his leadership, Achwan has pledged to continue fulfilling the organization’s goals already outlined by Ba’asyir through sermons and jihad.

Jihad is perceived by Achwan and JAT as the fight to uphold sharia through both p...