Muslim leader: terrorists must stop undermining Islam’s image

Khabar Southeast Asia
A witness at the trial of Umar Patek said extremists have taken the lives of innocent Muslims and are undermining Islam.
Attacks by radical extremists have cost the lives of Muslims and tarnished the image of Islam, a Muslim community leader from Kuta testified Thursday (April 24th) before the West Jakarta District Court during the trial of Umar Patek.
Speaking of his emotions following the 2002 bomb attack in Kuta that cost the lives of over two hundred people, he recalled the story of one victim, Mohammad Taufik.
“Taufik was such a genuinely nice, religious man and he had actually planned to perform umrah [pilgrimage] in 2003 with his wife. They had already paid the expenses. But unfortunately he was killed in the 2002 Bali bomb attack,” Agus Bambang Priyatno, the community leader, told the court.
He said such acts of violence have undermined Islam’s reputation as a religion of peace.
“The 2002 Bali Bomb attack has been destroying my religion’s image across the globe. It has been creating a bad image that Islam is identical with terrorism and violence,” he said.
“Therefore I’m demanding to all the radical Muslims to stop any violent action and terror attacks conducted in the name of Islam,” Agus said.
“It will destroy Islam’s image as if Islam is a religion, which is identified with terrorism and violent actions.”
“Besides that, this is also destroying Indonesia’s credibility as a moderate Muslim nation internationally.”
Patek, alleged to have played a key role in the bombings, faces terrorism charges that could bring him the death penalty should he be convicted. He appeared to listen attentively to the testimony by Agus.
Patek then briefly responded, saying that he too regretted the incident’s impact.
Also testifying was Ruqqayah, Patek’s wife. She said she knew nothing about Patek’s relations with the late al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, and was in the dark about her husband’s alleged role in the Bali bombing or the Christmas Eve bombings two years earlier, in which 18 died.
“My husband did not tell me anything about it,” she said, describing herself as an obedient wife who always did what she was asked to do.
Even when the couple fled to Pakistan, using aliases to conceal their identities from authorities, she did not know why they were using false names and did not ask her husband to explain, Ruqqayah said.
“I just did what I was asked by my husband and I did not question anything about it,” she said, describing Patek as a genuinely nice man who loved her.
“When we arrived in Pakistan, we were picked up by a man whom I just met for very first time, and we went to Lahore then continued the trip to Multan. And I did not know where we went next and we just lived there for couple months until we were arrested,” she continued.
“In that city [Abbottabad], we were told to not leave the house at all by the person, whose name I did not know. So we just stayed inside to study the Qur’an and pray a lot,” Ruqqayah testified. Following her testimony, Presiding Judge Encep Yuliadi allowed the couple to embrace each other.
The trial proceedings will resume on Thursday.

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