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Bali bomber to best selling author

CNN Jakarta Bureau Chief Maria Ressa
The book has become a bestseller in Indonesia.
Bali (Indonesia)

JAKARTA, Indonesia (CNN) -- One of the men convicted of planning and carrying out the Bali bomb attacks has penned a book that seeks to justify his actions.

Imam Samudra -- on death row for the attacks that killed more than 200 people on October 12, 2003 -- is a best selling author in Indonesia.

His "I Fight Terrorists" shows that while many Indonesians may not share his tactics, they may have the same goals.

Samudra calls himself a true believer.

"God is great," he urges followers to shout.

An Afghan war veteran who named his son Osama, Imam Samudra trained as an engineer and computer expert, and used the Internet to spread his beliefs.

"The Bali bombing was the response of a small group of Muslims who truly understand what it means to defend the dignity of Islam," he says in the book.

Written in Indonesian, its title is "Aku Melawan Teroris," but the terrorists Samudra refers to in the title are the United States and its allies.

It's a message that has appeal in the country with the world's largest Muslim population where anti-American sentiment has reached all-time highs because of the perception that the U.S. war on terror has unfairly targeted Islam.

Samudra calls for more suicide attacks around the world to avenge America's support for Israel and its attacks on Afghanistan and Iraq.

"We target the invaders," he writes.

"We target evil, arrogant nations proud of the destruction they have caused - with no country able to stop them."

Despite its inflammatory nature, there have been no calls to ban the book.

"This book can inspire," Samudra's lawyer says.

"We have to understand his reasoning, his thinking. In my opinion, he has the right to communicate his ideas."

Despite three al Qaeda-linked attacks in less than two years, analysts say little has been done to counter the ideology of radical Islam.

Investigators say Samudra was a key leader of Jemaah Islamiyah, al Qaeda's arm in Southeast Asia.

Yet, even now from death row, he remains free to spread his radical ideas.

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