Indonesian clerics deny school breeding terrorists

Muslim clerics denied Monday that a boarding school founded by the alleged spiritual leader of an al-Qaida-linked group was a breeding ground for terrorists. Several men convicted in suicide bombings across the sprawling nation in recent years attended the Al-Mukmin Ngruki boarding school on the main island of Java. But Muhyidin Djunaedi of the Indonesian Cleric's Council said individuals - not the institution - were at fault. "Such schools now have the image of producing terrorists," he said following a two-day seminar held to combat the perception that the school had become a training ground for terrorists. "It is the understanding of some alumni ... they tend to see Islam as black and white." Ngruki was founded by Abu Bakar Bashir, one of the alleged leaders of Jemaah Islamiyah, which has been blamed for a series of bloody terror attacks since 2002 that together killed more than 250 people. The school teaches an uncompromising version of Islam, with emphasis on violent jihad and the need to establish an Islamic state across Southeast Asia.