ABU Bakar Bashir has endorsed the deadly work of Southeast Asia's most wanted terrorist, Noordin Top, saying Allah would protect him in his fight for Islam.
The fanatical Muslim cleric, who is the spiritual adviser to the al-Mukmin Islamic school for children on the outskirts of Solo, in central Java, said if the victims of the J.W. Marriott and Ritz-Carlton suicide bombings had ever held any thoughts against Islam, they deserved to die.
Bashir refused to condemn the suicide bombings, saying the use of terror was justified in the war against infidels, or non-Muslims.
Bashir was convicted and jailed for inciting terrorism in relation to the 2002 Bali bombings and has not since moderated his views.
He is seen as the spiritual head of Jemaah Islamiah, and while he is deeply unpopular in Indonesia, he carries dangerous influence that marks him as more than a mere ranting eccen