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Indonesia


'Beat up' tourists: Islamic cleric

Mar 24, 2008

Firebrand Islamic cleric Abu Bakar Bashir has called on his young Indonesian followers to attack tourists - including Australians - in a fiery sermon.

In the talk given in October last year Bashir urges his followers to "beat up" western tourists, whom he likened to "worms, snakes and maggots", The Australian newspaper reported on Monday.

"God willing there are none (tourists) here," he told the young Indonesian audience on October 22.

"If there were infidels here, just beat them up. Do not tolerate them.

"Worms, snakes, maggots - those are animals that crawl. Take a look at Bali ... those infidel tourists. They are naked."

Bashir was convicted of conspiracy over the 2002 Bali bombings - which killed 88 Australians - serving 26 months in prison.

Experts have interpreted Bashir's comments as a sign the cleric has become emboldened since being released from prison last year.

The speech was recorded by Australian PhD student Nathan Franklin, who is specialising in Indonesian politics.

"Going to jail, serving a very light sentence, and becoming a media icon - it's the best thing that's happened to him," Mr Franklin said.

news.smh.com.au

'Beat up' tourists: Islamic cleric
network.news.com.au



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