In the restive Pakistani province of South Waziristan an Islamist by the name of Abdullah Mehsud commands an estimated 200 fighters. On October 14 Mehsud masterminded the kidnapping of two Chinese engineers working on a dam project for a state-run Chinese company and were taken to a mud hut in the Chagmalai area of the province. From the hut, the kidnappers negotiated with Pakistani forces while receiving telephone instructions from Mehsud. The negotiations ended with a Pakistani assault on the hut during which one of the Chinese hostages was killed. Pakistani forces immediately set out to capture Mehsud, previously unknown to the Pakistani government. The name Abdullah Mehsud, however, did ring a bell halfway around the world at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba where Mehsud had been an inmate until March 2004.
Elsewhere, halfway between Pakistan and Cuba, in Denmark, a man named Silmane Haj Abd al-Rahmane told Danish national television on September 26 that he considered Danish soldiers and government officials legitimate targets for terrorist attacks. Abd al-Rahmane also said he plans to travel to Chechnya and join the jihad there. Abd al-Rahmane had also been a detainee at Guantanamo and was released to Danish authorities in the beginning of 2004. When asked about the contract he had signed before being released from Guantanamo in which he had committed to refrain from terrorist activities, Abd al-Rahmane answered: “They can use that contract as toilet paper over in the United States”. This kind of rhetoric is not only heard from freed prisoners living in western democracies.
Shortly before a prisoner exchange between Afghanistan and Pakistan, on September 12, Umara Khan, a Pakistani national who had been jailed in Afghanistan after he had been captured while fighting for the Taliban told a reporter: “I am proud of my decision. I had come to Afghanistan for jihad and I succeeded. I will go to Iraq and continue my jihad against Americans until I defeat them”. In October, Israel Defense Force soldiers arrested Imad al-Kawasme, commander of Hamas in the city of Hebron. Kawasme orchestrated many terrorist attacks including the August 31 suicide attacks on two buses in Beer Sheba. Al-Kawasme had previously been in an Israeli prison between 1994 and 1999. Islamist militants, wholly committed to their ideology, are not reformed by imprisonment.
The fact that Islamist prisoners are repeat offenders is not that surprising when one understands that they are ideological criminals that base their actions on a utopian ideology. Jihad, in their eyes, will eventually lead to a perfect Islamic world, in which Muslims rule by Islamic law. They strongly believe that their actions in support of jihad are not only religiously justified but are in fact a religious duty.
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