“We will give Thai Buddhists three days to leave our land. Otherwise, we will kill you and burn your houses. … Thai Buddhists will never live peacefully. You will be killed cruelly.”
Meanwhile, note that this jihadist was recruited through atrocity stories, as we have seen many times before. The jihad recruiters don’t seem to have mentioned Britney Spears.
“Asia’s Islamic extremists add beheadings to their arsenal,” from Associated Press, with thanks to Morgaan Sinclair:
NA PRADU, Thailand – It took two days for the young Muslim assassin to calm his nerves before the slaying.
Then, Mohama Waekaji says, he walked one cool morning to a rice mill, carrying a knife and following orders from a guerrilla commander to behead the 72-year-old Buddhist owner.
He asked the elderly man, Juan Kaewtongprakam, for some rice husks. As he turned to collect them, Waekaji says, he slashed the blade through the man’s neck.
“I didn’t dare to disobey,” the 23-year-old Waekaji said in an interview with The Associated Press _ the first time a Thai militant accused of a beheading has spoken to the Western media. “I knew they would come after me if I did not do what I was told.”
The killing in February was one in a spate of beheadings that has shocked Thailand, a nation with no past history of the practice, and fueled fears that the brutal terrorist tactics of the Middle East are spreading in Asia.
Twenty-five beheadings _ including 10 already this year _ have been reported in southern Thailand since an Islamic-inspired insurgency erupted in 2004, claiming more than 2,200 lives. Militants in the heavily Muslim region seek independence from mostly Buddhist Thailand.
“Beheadings are certainly on the rise outside of the Middle East proper,” said Timothy Furnish, professor of Middle Eastern history at Georgia Perimeter College. “These groups do take their cues from … hardcore Islamic thought coming out of the Arab world. Beheading infidels not only shocks, but also demonstrates Islamic bona fides to other groups.”
“The inspiration is clearly coming across the Internet or through DVDs clips,” said Zachary Abuza, an expert on terrorism in Southeast Asia at Simmons College in Boston.
“Islamist militants in Southeast Asia are very frustrated that the region is considered the Islamic periphery,” Abuza added. “… Militants of the region are actively trying to pull the region into the Islamic core. They want people to understand that their jihad is a part of the global jihad.”
Waekaji’s account of his journey _ from quiet, average student to a confessed killer _ offers insights into how young Muslims fall under the influence of militant Islamic thinking.
He was attending a private Islamic school in Pattani province when a school buddy persuaded him to join a religious event at a mosque. There “ustad,” or teachers, told him about an organization to liberate southern Thailand, asking him to take an oath to become a servant of Allah, obey the teachers and take the secrets of the organization to his grave.
Although confused and with little knowledge of politics, he took the oath and began secret training at age 19.
His teachers stressed the sufferings of Muslims in Palestine and Afghanistan and also in Thailand, where many Muslims feel they are second-class citizens in a Buddhist-dominated land.
The teachers detailed the Tak Bai tragedy of 2004 when Thai security forces confronted Muslim protesters, resulting in the deaths of 85. The victims died of suffocation when authorities arrested 1,300 people and stacked them on top of each other in trucks.
“I was shaken when I heard the story. I was revengeful and I did hate them, those who did this to us Muslims,” Waekaji said at the prison in Na Pradu, about 680 miles south of Bangkok.
His story could not be independently confirmed, but Waekaji has made a formal written confession and the police have filed a case against him in criminal court.
During rigorous training, he learned how to do knuckle push-ups, wield knives, swords and guns and how to take a life by squeezing an opponent’s Adam’s apple with his hands or breaking a victim’s neck.
After two years, he was sent out to burn tires and spread nails on roads to puncture tires and distract police before attacks staged by his comrades.
Leaflets left in mailboxes and motorcycle baskets in Pattani the day of the beheading warned: “We will give Thai Buddhists three days to leave our land. Otherwise, we will kill you and burn your houses. … Thai Buddhists will never live peacefully. You will be killed cruelly.”