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Jakarta Post

Aman denounces church attacks, calls perpetrators 'mentally ill'

  • Fachrul Sidiq

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Fri, May 25, 2018   /   02:05 pm
Aman denounces church attacks, calls perpetrators 'mentally ill' Pro-Islamic State (IS) cleric Aman Abdurrahman stands trial for his alleged roles in a string of terror attacks in the country at the South Jakarta District Court on Friday. (Antara/Galih Pradipta)

Pro-Islamic State (IS) cleric Aman Abdurrahman denounced in his defense plea on Friday the recent terror attacks in Indonesia, saying the perpetrators were ignorant and mentally ill.

Aman, who is facing the death penalty for allegedly inspiring others to commit at least five terror attacks in Indonesia, told the South Jakarta District Court that he was not involved in any of the attacks.

"The people who committed [terrorism], allowed it to happen or taught others to do it are mentally sick and frustrated with the world. Islam does not teach that," Aman read out his plea in the heavily guarded courtroom.

He said the suicide bombings targeting churches in Surabaya, East Java, were "hideous" as the perpetrators involved children in their actions.

"What happened in Surabaya, where a mother took her children to blow themselves up could never be the action of a person who understands Islam and jihad." 

Aman, touted by analysts as the most influential pro-ISIS cleric, admitted he had encouraged more than 1,000 of his followers to go to Syria and become militants. However, he denied that he had instructed them to carry out attacks in Indonesia.

"Related to a bombing in Samarinda church in [East Kalimantan], Islam urges Muslims who live in a kafir [infidel] country, including Indonesia, to live side by side with followers of other religions as long as they don't disturb or fight Muslims. [...] And there was no report of any religion-based conflict in Samarinda triggered by non Muslims," he said.

The attack in Samarinda in 2016 killed a toddler, and Aman said that killing a child was unforgivable.

Aman asserted his conviction that the government and its apparatus were infidels, but claimed that he had yet to order his followers to attack security apparatuses due to some considerations. (ahw)