An update on the social ties of terrorists:
His new network’s activities in and around Palembang, a sprawling city of 1.5 million people on the island of Sumatra, show how they operated.
The river port city is a melting pot of Malay, Indian and Chinese people, with a history as a pirate lair. Today, it’s a dusty, traffic-clogged city known for its criminal gangs, and for the Masjid Agung, one of the nation’s largest mosques, which fills up on Fridays when people from across the city come to pray.
In 2006, according to police documents, an emissary of Mr. Noordin known as Syaifuddin Zuhri, but who used the alias Sabit, arrived at a small Islamic school called al Furqon, about four hours’ drive south of Palembang. His mission: To exhort a nonviolent study group of about 10 people concerned about Christian conversions of local Muslims to consider attacks on Western targets.
Mr. Sabit introduced Mr. Taib to a master bomb maker, who later trained others in the group, and supplied him with a loaded revolver and 11 spare bullets to be used in attacks on “infidels,” Mr. Taib said in trial testimony.
Members of the group went on, in 2007, to shoot dead a Christian schoolteacher in Palembang who had persuaded his Muslim female students not to wear their veils. The members also built bombs and planned to attack tourist cafes in a Sumatran hill resort popular with backpackers, according to testimony. The group called off the attacks at the last minute because they didn’t want to also kill Indonesian Muslims.
(…) After being arrested (…), eight members of the group confessed and were convicted of the teacher’s murder and of planning attacks, and received prison sentences of between 10 and 18 years. Mr. Sugandi was given a five-year sentence for harboring terrorists, and his school shut down. Mr. Sabit wasn’t captured.
via Indonesian Terrorists Find Refuge – WSJ.com.
technorati tags: Indonesia, Jemaah_Islamiyah, Sumatra, Masjid_Agung, Noordin_Mat_Top, Syaifuddin_Zuhri, Sabit, al-Furqon, Christianity, Christian_persecution, religious_persecution, Palembang, Islamic_veil,