Indonesia arrests senior cleric for ties to Jemaah Islamiah

The police raid was carried out near Jakarta on Nov 16. PHOTO: AFP

JAKARTA (REUTERS) - Indonesia's counter-terrorism police have arrested a member of a top Islamic council on charges of raising funds for the al Qaeda-linked Jemaah Islamiah (JI) group blamed for deadly bombings, police said on Wednesday (Nov 17).

The raid was carried out near Jakarta on Tuesday during which Ahmad Zain An-Najah, a member of the Indonesian Ulema Council, was arrested along with two associates, national police spokesperson Rusdi Hartono said.

Ahmad set up a charity organisation to get funding "for education, social activities... some of the funds are used to mobilise JI", Rusdi told a news conference.

The organisation operated in cities on Sumatra and Java islands, including Jakarta, he said.

Indonesia is the world's largest Muslim-majority country and a resurgence in militant attacks in recent years has been linked to hundreds of Indonesians who went to Syria and Iraq to fight for Islamic State before returning.

JI is accused of orchestrating the 2002 bombings of Bali nightclubs, which killed more than 200 people.

Ahmad was a member of the Ulema Council's commission that issues Islamic edicts, said the body's head Cholil Nafis. His work at the council had nothing to do with militant activities, he said.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.