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Sunday June 19, 2011

My father is for peace, says Abu Bakar’s son

IN the packed courtroom, Abu Bakar Bashir's youngest son Abdul Rohim sat amongst the crowd to hear the court deliver its verdict on his father.

“As a Muslim, we reject this (verdict). It is unacceptable unless it is from Islamic law. We will appeal.

“The judge has leaned heavily in favour of the prosecution. He ignored the arguments from our defence team including the request to bring several witnesses to court to testify,” says Rohim, referring to two witnesses who testified via video link from prison.

Rohim claims that the two witnesses' testimony was not independent as they were not allowed to testify “freely” inside a courtroom.

As police brace for a possible backlash from Abu Bakar's supporters, Rohim poured cold water on their concerns.

“My request from my father is for peace. He told us to be patient. He never once had any wish for revenge,” he says.

Tall and well-built, Rohim is intelligent, articulate and is open to the press. He sits on the board of his father's Jamaah Anshorut Tauhid (JAT) and teaches at the Al-Mukmin boarding school in Ngruki, Solo, Central Java.

Known to be IT savvy, Rohim studied in Pakistan for several years and spent part of his childhood in Negri Sembilan.

The Indonesian press has called him a future leader of his father's movement, a label which he dismisses, saying that it is “wrong” to cast him in that light.

“I have no such ambitions at all. And as a Muslim, it is wrong to harbour such thoughts.

“I am just an ordinary teacher,” he says in a phone interview from Jakarta.

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