A whole brigade of converts to Islam who evidently misunderstand the peacefulness of their new religion are ready to sow mayhem in the name of Allah in Southeast Asia. Ibrahim Hooper will no doubt soon be getting on the phone to Indonesian Muslim leaders, exhorting them to be more careful about who is instructing these converts.
From The Australian, with thanks to Rosie:
A NETWORK of homegrown converts to radical Islam has emerged as a major terrorist threat in Southeast Asia, teaming up with higher-profile al-Qa’ida offshoots Jemaah Islamiah and Abu Sayyaf to plot attacks on Western and local targets.
Manila’s top anti-terrorism official has told The Australian that the group of former Christians known as Rajah Solaiman is highly educated and well-financed and lacked the profile of traditional Islamist terrorist groups, making it easier to evade detection.
His warning came as Indonesian and Australian mourners remembered the 20 people killed in JI’s last major terror attacks, at Jimbaran Bay and Kuta in Bali a year ago yesterday.
Terrorist experts believe that while JI has suffered some significant setbacks in the past 12 months, its alliance with southern Philippines groups such as Rajah Solaiman mean it is still a potent force.
The Australian understands that Canberra is closely monitoring the pursuit of Rajah Solaiman, which shares JI’s goal of a pan-Islamic state in Asia.
Rajah Solaiman has direct links to al-Qa’ida’s leadership and to JI’s 2002 Bali bombers Umar Patek, who was killed last month, and Dulmatin, who is still on the run in the war-torn southern Philippines.
Philippines defence undersecretary Ricardo Blancaflor said Rajah Solaiman was hiding out in the country’s impenetrable south, conducting joint training exercises and plotting terror attacks with its JI and Abu Sayyaf allies.
Mr Blancaflor said Rajah Solaiman was a “classic case of homegrown terrorism” that could be compared to Australia’s problems with small extremist groups of Lebanese Muslim migrants.
“These homegrown terrorists are messengers of hate – hate of the West and of Christianity,” he said.
“We have to understand that terrorism today goes way beyond al-Qa’ida, it has no boundaries and no geographical limits.”