Indonesia Top Cleric Arrested with Links to Terrorist Group

Diana Mariska
Densus 88
Densus 88 - National Police’s counterterrorism unit Detachment 88 arrested three individuals on suspicious links with extremist group Jemaah Islamiyah, or JI, on Tuesday, 16 November 2021, in Bekasi, West Java.

The suspected members are member of Fatwa Commission for the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) Ahmad Zain An-Najah, chairman of Indonesian People’s Dawah Party (PDRI) Ahmad Farid Okbah, and Anung Al Hamat. They were arrested in different locations in Bekasi.

National Police’s spokesperson Chief Commissioner Ahmad Ramadhan said each of the three individuals has different roles in their connection with JI.

“AZ [Zain] is involved in JI’s Shura Council and as chairman of LAZ BM Abdurrahman Bin Auf [zakat management agency],” Ramadhan said on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Farid Okbah is said to have been funding Perisai Nusantara Esa Foundation, a wing unit under JI with focus on advocacy. Much like Zain, he is also part of the Shura Council.

Lastly, according to Ramadhan, Anung was also involved to oversee Perisai Nusantara Esa Foundation in 2017, in addition to a similar role for JI.

Response from MUI

MUI has since confirmed the arrest of one of its members. Deputy secretary-general Ikhsan Abdullah said Zain represents the dawah council in MUI.

“It’s true [that he’s a member of the Fatwa Commission]. MUI is the representation of Islamic mass organizations, and he’s a representative of dawah council,” Abdullah explained.

However, he also distanced MUI from Zain’s involvement in the extremist group. He reiterated that MUI doesn’t share any radical view.

“MUI is saddened to learn the arrest, [but] if the allegation is proven, it’s his responsibility and not MUI’s,” Abdullah emphasized. “MUI always strongly rejects and is against radical movements, let alone terrorism.”

MUI held an emergency meeting Tuesday night to discuss the suspect’s legal, and it’s also open to the possibility of providing legal assistance for Zain if necessary.

Tag # terrorism # jemaah islamiyah # police # densus 88 # mui # radicalism # extremism

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