aceh aid rebuffed

  1. 4,788 Posts.

    No doubt about it, JI get the gold medal for stupidity..


    Western aid winning hearts
    By Mark Dodd
    January 12, 2005

    THE spiritual head of Jemaah Islamiah says he is losing the battle for the hearts and minds of Aceh's tsunami survivors because of the humanitarian assistance from Australian and US military forces.

    A spokesman for Abu Bakar Bashir said the Indonesian cleric, who is on trial for terrorism, regarded the relief operations by Australian and US military personnel as a dangerous development, overshadowing the role of the Indonesian Armed Forces (TNI).

    "We are suspicious of the presence of foreign soldiers and their show of force and the minimum publicity given to assistance from Arab states," said Fauzan Al Anshari, a spokesman for Bashir's militant Majelis Mujahidin Indonesia group.

    "It's dangerous, this idea by Acehnese that US and Australian forces are their guardian angels - more popular than the TNI."

    Mr Anshari quoted Bashir as warning against any long-term hidden agenda in the deployment of Australian and US troops, saying he feared their presence in Aceh was like that of colonial invaders.

    "If they establish a permanent base there, it will lead to trouble," he said.

    Downplaying the mercy role of troops working to rebuild where more than a 100,000 people were lost when the tsunami struck on Boxing Day, Mr Anshari warned that they would promote prostitution and the consumption of alcohol in the devoutly Muslim region.

    John Howard announced last week a $1 billion, five-year program for relief and reconstruction in Aceh. More than 500 Australian troops are in Aceh, with another 400 due to arrive in Sumatra on HMAS Kanimbla tomorrow. They are part of a massive multinational force providing relief to the region engaged in a bloody separatist revolt, but both sides have attempted to maintain a ceasefire since the tsunami struck.

    Bashir's appearance in a South Jakarta court yesterday on charges of heading a terrorist organisation was greeted by shouts of "Allah Akbar (God is Great)" from scores of youthful supporters. Dressed more like members of an outlaw bikie gang, his supporters wore vests emblazoned with slogans such as "Taliban, Laskar, Mujaheddin and Brigade Al Ishlah", a reference to their allegiance with several home-grown militant Islamic groups.


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