Radical cleric insists on enforcing Islamic law in Indonesia

A radical Indonesian Muslim cleric, thought to be behind the 2002 terrorist bombings that killed 202 people on the resort island of Bali, said in a recent interview that he still believes Indonesia should implement Islamic law, vowing to work to make it happen.

Abu Bakar Bashir, 84, who was freed last year after serving time in a separate case for funding a militant training camp, spoke with Kyodo News last month near Solo on the main island of Java ahead of the bombings’ 20th anniversary on Wednesday.

Bashir is the alleged spiritual leader of Jemaah Islamiyah, a militant group to which the perpetrators of the Bali attack belonged. The group is also linked to the international terrorism network al-Qaida.

The attack on Bali nightclubs crowded with foreign tourists killed 88 Australians, the most among foreign nations. Two Japanese also died. Indonesia experienced a slew of terror attacks in subsequent years, including the bombing of an upscale hotel in Jakarta in 2003 that killed 12 people.