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Southeast Asia, explained

Indonesia's top militant cleric: fight America "until it is destroyed"

Jailed spiritual leader Abu Bakar Bashir says "America is the enemy of Islam"
Abu bakar bashir indonesia 2012 02 29Enlarge
Muslim militant cleric Abu Bakar Bashir (in white) is guarded by Indonesian elite commandos in Jakarta on February 29, 2012. (ADEK BERRY/AFP/Getty Images)

One of the best-known militant Islamic cleric in Indonesia has fresh orders for his disciples.

According to the Agence France Press outlet, 83-year-old Abu Bakar Bashir has called on his followers to "fight the U.S. until it is destroyed."

"America," he told reporters, "is the enemy of Islam."

Why is the imprisoned cleric so salty?

Because the U.S. State Department recently deemed his network, Jemaah Anshorut Tauhid or JAT, a "foreign terrorist organization."

According to the State Department, Bashir's group is accused of bombing churches, bank robberies, nurturing an underground terror cell in Aceh province and seeking to "establish an Islamic caliphate in Indonesia."