Why would converts be susceptible to the jihadist message? Because they are confronting the Qur’an and other Islamic texts without cultural preconceptions. They can read the texts and see what they teach, and act accordingly. From the Manila Times, with thanks to nevermindlv and Nicolei:
THE al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf group has deployed 80 Muslim converts all over the country, most of them in key cities in Metro Manila, to bomb civilian and government targets.
Citing reports from the intelligence community, National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales said the Abu Sayyaf chieftain, Khadaffy Janjalani, trained these converts, who were former Christians, early last year in the jungles of Basilan.
In a roundtable discussion with The Manila Times editors and reporters, Gonzales named the Abu Sayyaf as the “most dangerous” of all rebel groups in the country, despite its membership of less than 300.
“Compared with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the New People’s Army, the Abu Sayyaf is the most dangerous because these terrorists even volunteer to conduct attacks to win the recognition of international terrorist groups, including al-Qaeda,” Gonzales said.
Targets for possible terrorist attacks are bus terminals, passenger ships and other crowded areas.
Gonzales said the Muslim converts, known in the intelligence community as the Balik-Islam Group, are scattered nationwide, but are concentrated in Metro Manila and the Visayas. The military arrested four of these converts early this year in Metro Manila.
“Now we have 76 more to worry about and we hope we can catch them before they inflict harm on civilians,” Gonzales said.