Bomber shirts for sale as Indonesia awaits executions
* Bucktooth Bashir is stirring the pot, as usual…
TENGGULUN, Indonesia (AFP) â€“ T-shirts praising theÂ Islamistsbehind the Bali attacks went on sale in the village of bombersÂ Amroziand Mukhlas on Saturday, as the wait for their executions took a macabre twist.
Mukhlas, 48, Amrozi, 47, and fellow militantÂ Imam Samudra, 38, are due to be executed imminently for their role in the 2002 bombings, which killed 202 people, mainly foreign tourists.
But while authorities have said the execution will be in “early” November, they have not set an exact date, leading to a rash of media speculation and allowing Islamist sympathisers time to rally to the bombers’ cause.
Family members have begun selling plain black T-shirts for 20,000 rupiah (1.84 dollars) with the message: “Even if Amrozi and friends are executed,Â jihadÂ (holy war) will go on.”
“We’re trying to support the two brothers’ fight for Islam,” said A’anal Umam, a 19-year-old nephew of Mukhlas and Amrozi, in the normally sleepy East Java coastal village.
The simple farming community a short distance from the beach has turned into a circus of sorts as frustrated journalists mix with jihadist radicals and nervous police, all trying to guess the timing of the long-delayed executions.
Tensions were building overnight over the macabre details of the bombers’ burial, after family members were told the brothers’ bodies would be delivered by helicopter pre-wrapped in white shrouds.
Relatives were furious as this meant they would be unable to wash the bodies in line with Muslim custom, but backed down after police threatened to take over the funeral.
“As a family we’re terrified that we can’t handle the bodies but we’re worried about the possibility of bloodshed happening, so we accepted it even though we were forced,” brother Muhammad Chozin said.
A younger brother of the bombers, Ali Fauzi, travelled with police in the dead of night to the island prison where the bombers are being held and will reportedly visit them before witnessing their executions.
Small crowds of Islamist radicals have descended daily on the village in the lead up to the executions, and have promised hundreds more will come if the bombers are killed.
A crowd of around 50 radicals chanted “Allahu Akbar” (God is greater) during a brief visit by hardline clericAbu Bakar Bashir, the co-founder of the militantÂ Jemaah IslamiyahÂ network blamed for the Bali blasts.
Bashir hailed the bombers as “holy warriors” and urged Muslims to follow their lead.
“We should emulate their fighting spirit, they are ready to sacrifice their lives fighting for Islam and they will not surrender, that’s what a holy warrior is,” Bashir told the crowd, which included dozens of curious villagers.