Islamic cleric: Howard should convert to Islam

Firebrand Indonesian cleric Abu Bakar Bashir said Australia's Prime Minister John Howard should convert to Islam if he wants to avoid going to hell. "If he wants to be saved from hell, he needs to convert to Islam and God willing, he will be forgiven by Allah," Bashir said. Bashir, the alleged spiritual leader of the al-Qaida-linked Southeast Asian militant group Jemaah Islamiyah, made the comments hours after being released from prison Wednesday after serving 26 months for conspiracy in the 2002 bombings on the resort island of Bali. The cleric also warned Australia not to fight against Muslims. "Maybe with God's permission they can kill us, but they certainly can't beat Islam."