Tamsil Linrung (SM/dok)
In Indonesia, jihad goes to Parliament. Will Linrung bring an exploding briefcase? From The Australian, with thanks to Nicolei:
A POLITICIAN soon to be elected in Indonesia has been linked to extremist Islamic organisations, including Bali bombing group Jemaah Islamiah.
As the vote count continued in Indonesia’s huge elections, Megawati Sukarnoputri’s Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle held a slight edge over its main rival Golkar party yesterday, with 20.77 per cent of the vote to Golkar’s 19.96 per cent.
With more than a third of the ballot counted, Tamsil Linrung looks certain to take a place in Indonesia’s national parliament as the member for south Sulawesi of the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS).
Mr Linrung, a Makassar businessman, was arrested at Manila airport two years ago when explosives were found in his suitcase. He was released on the orders of Philippines President Gloria Arroyo, following some high-level diplomacy between Jakarta and Manila. As a PKS parliamentarian, Mr Linrung is likely to have some clout in the national assembly.
The Islamic-oriented PKS is the success story of the Indonesian elections, and is predicted to win more than 7 per cent of the vote. A leading businessman in south Sulawesi’s capital of Makassar, Mr Linrung was listed at number one on the party’s south Sulawesi candidate list.
Mr Linrung was the national leader of the Islamic charity Kompak, which has been linked to the violence between Muslims and Christians in central Sulawesi. The bloody conflict, centred in Poso, has left hundreds dead.
A report released in February by the International Crisis Group, titled Jihad in Central Sulawesi, refers directly to Kompak. “From the beginning, Kompak had one foot in radical violence and one foot in the Muslim establishment,” the think tank’s report says.
It focuses on the Mujaheddin Kompak, a Muslim militia set up by a branch of the charity, and how it both competed and co-operated with JI in Poso. Mujaheddin Kompak was joined by former JI members impatient for action and was “leaner, meaner and quicker” than JI, the report says.
Mr Linrung had earlier connections with JI, according to a 2002 ICG report.
It notes he was present at a meeting called in Malaysia in late 1999 by the radical Islamic cleric Abu Bakar Bashir, said to be JI’s spiritual leader.
Besides Mr Linrung, the report says, the notorious JI leader Hambali was present, as well as a representative from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, a Philippines terror group, and two people from the Islamic Malaysian party PAS.
The PKS was known for its hardline stance on religion, but moderated its demands for sharia law before the election. The chief of the party’s south Sulawesi council, Surya Darma, said Mr Linrung was regarded as a hero locally. He said the Manila arrest was a frame-up and Kompak was a humanitarian Islamic organisation.