Theodore's World: Cleric Calls on Bush to Convert to Islam

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June 16, 2006

Cleric Calls on Bush to Convert to Islam

Cleric Calls on Bush to Convert to Islam

A reputed leader of the al-Qaida-linked terror group blamed for deadly bombings across Indonesia on Thursday accused President Bush and Australian Prime Minister John Howard of waging wars against Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Militant cleric Abu Bakar Bashir also called on Bush and Howard to convert to Islam, saying it was "the only way to save their souls," adding that families still grieving after the 2002 Bali blasts that killed many foreigners should also become Muslim to find "salvation and peace."

Bashir, 68, was released from prison Wednesday after completing a 26- month sentence for conspiracy in the Bali bombings that killed 202 people, was at a hardline Islamic boarding school that has spawned some of Southeast Asia's deadliest terrorists.

The firebrand cleric also declined to directly condemn young men who carry out bombings in Indonesia in the name of Islam, saying they he still considered them "holy warriors," because they believed they were defending the oppressed.

The United States and Australia said they were disappointed at Bashir's release.

Bashir said the attacks "were God's will" and that survivors should "convert to Islam" if they wanted to soothe their suffering.

Posted by Wild Thing at June 16, 2006 01:05 AM