THE radical cleric and co-founder of Jemaah Islamiah, Abu Bakar Bashir, said he expected to attend the funerals of Amrozi and Mukhlas in Tenggulun as his followers yesterday began descending on the men’s village.
A large turnout at the funeral of the brothers is just one of many security issues facing Indonesian authorities before the executions of the Bali bombers. The executions have been repeatedly delayed, giving hardliners more chance to mobilise and make threats.
Yesterday, Indonesian police revealed that the US and Australian embassies in Jakarta received a bomb threat via SMS, prompting a security sweep outside the diplomatic missions.
In an interview with the Herald , Bashir said that ideally he would attend both funerals.
"If the murder takes place, most probably I’ll go to Lamongan [the regency in which Tenggulun is situated] because I live in Solo. Lamongan is the closer."
Imam Samudra – the other Jemaah Islamiah member on death row for orchestrating the bombings on Kuta Beach that killed 202 people, including 88 Australians – comes from Serang, West Java.
Bashir, who was released from prison in 2006 after serving a short sentence for his alleged role in inspiring the bombings, said Muslims would be angry if the men were executed.
"But what I [fear] the most is if God is angry. If Muslims are angry, it will be only words. But if God is, it will be real problem."
Asked if he would give a speech after the funeral, he said: "Preaching is my job. If I am asked, of course I will."
Bashir recently formed a new group, Jamaah Anshorut Tauhid, and about 30 members of the organisation arrived at Tenggulun yesterday.
Abdul Rahim, a key figure in the group, said: "Hundreds of us are waiting in Solo to come … but on the day of the execution there could be 1000 here."
Another Jamaah Anshorut Tauhid member, Mujaziin Muzakir, repeated the mantra that infidel countries such as Australia were behind the executions and were paying for them.
Bashir’s followers believe that the CIA planted a small nuclear device that was responsible for the larger explosion that levelled Bali’s Sari Club in October, 2002.
Supporters of the bombers maintain the executions are unjust and must be stopped but Nusakambangan prison chief Bambang Winahyo said the bombers appeared calm and ready to die, in line with their claims that they were looking forward to becoming "martyrs".