Jihadists and half-hearted police in Thailand. From the Times Online, :
THE leader of the Islamic Defenders Front of Indonesia is not a man to trifle with. Al-Habib Mohammed Rizieq Shihab preaches a lot about jihad against Islam’s offenders and oppressors in South-East Asia, and occasionally acts on it, with violent conseqences.
On any Friday night after prayers in Jakarta, Indonesia’s secular capital, drinkers half expect Rizieq and his thugs to drop in to their local bar and start trashing the place, outraged that alcohol is being imbibed in the world’s biggest Islamic country, and worse, in the holy month of Ramadan.
When Jakarta’s half-hearted police finally caught up with Rizieq and his men last year, he spent nine months inside the putrid Cipinang prison. His cellmate was Abu Bakar Bashir, the fiery Javanese cleric those prosecuting the War on Terror believe is the mastermind behind Jemaah Islamiyah, the group responsible for three Islamist terrorist attacks on foreigners in Indonesia in two years, including the 2002 Bali nightclub bombing that killed 202 mostly foreign tourists.
Rizieq, 39, is unrepentant. Speaking at his local mosque in a West Jakarta slum, he told The Times: “The question you must ask of yourself is, “˜Why do they treat us as an enemy?” And the answer is, “˜Because I, in the West, have acted unfairly”. America, England, Australia, have to realise that there are certain groups who hurt, and feel vengeful and angry and who would like to pour out their anger towards them, towards certain Western countries they consider are trying to crush Islam or reduce Islam.”
Rizieq shares Bashir’s vision of a Taleban-style, pure Islamist state in South-East Asia stretching from Buddhist Burma to Protestant Papua, taking in all points in between. It is that vision that has Rizieq hoping “” and the majority of moderate Indonesians afraid “” that the recent carnage in Buddhist-governed Thailand’s Islamic south may flare into a wider communal conflict engulfing the region.