08/04/2014, 00.00
INDONESIA - ISLAM
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Indonesia, jailed Islamic extremist leader "swears allegiance" ISIS

by Mathias Hariyadi
A picture taken in a maximum security prison of Nusakambangan witness the oath and confirms the growing linkage between Indonesian extremists and the Islamist movement. Abu Bakar Baasyir "favorable" to the project of the global Caliphate. But the majority of moderate Muslims are opposed.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) - The controversial Indonesian Muslim leader Abu Bakar Baasyir, former head of the Mujahideen Council (MMI), and godfather and ideologue of the extremist Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), supports the worldwide Caliphate and has sworn an  oath of allegiance to 'Isis. The "ceremony" took place in recent days in the maximum security prison of Nusakambangan, as confirmed by a picture (photo) circulated on line. Taking advantage of the feast of Eid al-Fitr - marking the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting and prayer, - and laxer security measures, people close to the Islamist leader immortalized the "ritual" that binds the leader of the Indonesian fanatical fringe to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isis), to the "Sheik" Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and his project of the global Caliphate. 

The Nusakambangan prison is the Indonesian "version" of Guantanamo, built by the United States in the homonymous base on Cuban territory to intern terrorists and members of Islamic extremist movements. It is located off the island of Java, in the district of Cilacap, in the south-west of Central Java, and is regulated by strict security protocols. 

It also holds the leader of the now dissolved JI movement which was held responsible for the Bali bombings of October 2002 which killed over 200 people and the attack on churches on Christmas Eve of 2000. However not even the rigid security has prevented Islamist propaganda and the publication of such "sensitive" images. 

The shot depicts Abu Bakar Baasyir - Founder amongst other things of Jemaah Ansharut Tauhid (JAT) and sentenced to 15 years in prison-at the center of a group of 13 people, some with their faces covered, holding an ISIS banner. Local sources speak of growing support of the so-called Forum of Activists for Sharia (Faksi) - who regularly visit the prison to meet Baasyir -  for ISIS fighters, who have won increasingly large portions of territory in Iraq and Syria. 

The growing bond between local Islamist movements and ISIS is an increasingly debated and "sensitive" issue among Indonesian citizens, most of who are opposed to the Caliphate and ISIS. In mid-July 2014, more than a thousand people gathered at a mosque in Solo Baru (Sukoharjo regency) to attend a prayer meeting hosted by the Islamic Daulah Support Forum. After having recited prayers, those present publically declared their support for ISIS, claiming to be ready to go to Iraq and Syria. In the following days a similar "baptism" was also celebrated in Malang (East Java). The commonality of purpose between JAT and ISIS is a source of further concern for Jakarta: the Islamist movement has over three thousand loyalists in the provinces of West Java, Central Java, Greater Jakarta, Sumatra, West Nusa Tenggara (NTB), East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) and Banten.

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