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Bali blast suspect named 'man of the year' by Islamic magazine

Bali blast suspect named 'man of the year' by Islamic magazine

Author: Press Trust of India/Associated Press
Publication: www.expressindia.com
Date: December 30, 2002
URL: http://www.expressindia.com/fullstory.php?newsid=18002

The alleged spiritual head of the terror group blamed for the October 12 Bali bombings has been named "Man of the Year" by an Indonesian Islamic magazine.

Abu Bakar Bashir's "charisma" and "stand against the US" were the main reasons why Sabili magazine honored him in its December edition, its editor Yogi Utomo said on Friday.

Bashir, a 64-year-old Muslim cleric who runs a religious boarding school on Java island, is currently in police detention in Jakarta over a string of church bombs in 2000 that killed 19 people.

Intelligence officials in Southeast Asia allege he heads Jemaah Islamiyah, the al-Qaida-linked terror group suspected in the Bali bombings that killed 192 people, mostly foreign tourists.

They haven't directly linked Bashir to the Bali attack.

Bashir has denied any wrongdoing, and claims that Jemaah Islamiyah does not even exist.

Sabili magazine typically features fiery articles on the alleged injustices by western governments on Muslims worldwide, on efforts to impose Islamic law in Indonesia and advice columns for young Muslims.

The magazine -- its title means "My Path" -- sells upto 85,000 copies a month and is distributed all over Indonesia, the world 's most populous Muslim nation.

Editor Utomo said Bashir's campaign for the imposition of Islamic law was another reason he was honored.

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