10/12/2009, 00.00
INDONESIA
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West Java: villages against burial of two Islamic terrorists

by Mathias Hariyadi
Syaifudin Zuhri and Muhammad Syahrir are “enemies of the nation” who “stained the reputation of the villages.” Tensions between village residents and Islamic fundamentalist groups flare up. The two brothers are buried in a Jakarta cemetery, where other extremists rest. Their father apologises and prays, “that such acts do not take place again.”
Jakarta (AsiaNews) – Residents of the villages of Sampora, Perbutulan and Sampiran, in West Java, have refused to allow the bodies of two terrorists, Syaifudin Zuhri and Muhammad Syahrir, to be laid to rest in their villages. The two were killed in a police raid on Friday. Their families organised the burial ceremony at the Pondok Rangon Cemetery in East Jakarta, a place where other Indonesian extremists are buried.

Djaelani Irsyad, 67, father of the two brothers, said, “we apologise to all the people who fell victim to the acts of my two sons. We pray that such acts do not take place again.”

Suihani, 35, sister of the terrorists and widow of Ibrohim, the florist at the Ritz Carlton who carried out the hotel attacks, said that the family “accepted” the villagers’ decision.

Zuhri and Syahrir were born and raised in Jakarta.

They were considered top al-Qaeda executives in South-East Asia.

They died in a police raid against a terror cell In Ciputat, some 20 kilometres from Jakarta. Two other members of the cell were arrested.

Law enforcement caught the group at a small hotel near Syarif Hidayatullah State Islamic University, viewed as their usual hangout.

Residents in the villages of Perbutulan (where Zuhri’s wife was born), Sampora (where the two extremists lived for a long time) Sampiran (their father’s native village) refused to have Zuhri and Syahrir buried in their respective cemetery. For residents, the two “stained the reputation of the villages”.

“Both were terrorists” and have been “officially declared enemies of the nation. They are traitors.”

Dozens of people demonstrated in central Java against burying the two brothers in their cemetery. Their protest marches raised tensions with local extremist groups like the Islamic Defender Front (FPI) and Anshorut Tauhid, an organisation associated with Abu Bakar Baasyir.

Meanwhile police released some details about the activities of Zuhri and Syahrir. The first travelled several times to the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia, between September and October 2008 with Muhammad Jibril, founder of Arrahmah.com, a pro-jihadist web portal.

Syahrir (pictured), an airline system expert for Indonesia’s national carrier Garruda Indonesia, provided technical expertise to help Jemaah Islamiyah leaders, including Baasyir, fly abroad.

However, Baasyir strongly denied the claim, saying he did not know the two brothers.

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