RealNews

Islamists will protect aid workers

Radical Muslims yesterday vowed to protect Australians and other aid workers helping tsunami victims in Aceh, angrily denying they opposed the foreign presence in the devastated Indonesian province. “If you have come to help people in this disaster, we welcome you and will defend you,” said Hilmy Bakar Almascaty, the leader in Aceh of the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI), a group known for smashing up bars and violent support of the jailed cleric Abu Bakar Bashir. Dr Almascaty told the Herald at his tent headquarters in Banda Aceh that foreigners who had come to help the Acehnese were “angels”, unlike others in Iraq, who were “devils”. The leader of the group in Jakarta, Habid Rizieq Shihab, denied a report in The Australian newspaper that he had attacked the presence of Australian aid workers in Aceh. Full Story

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