May 26, 2007 4:34 pm


The death toll from Islamist terror continues to rise. Since 2004 it claimed over 2000 lives. An Australian journalist accompanying police investigating an earlier incident got caught in the blast. The government which came to power preaching appeasement may just play into Islamist hands by making Buddhism the official state religion. Why? Because Buddhist monks demand it and elections may be on the way. As could be expected, decapitation begets radicalism.

This is home grown Islamist terror, insists the government but the reality seems different. In Thailand, as elsewhere, Wahabbi radical Islamism is on the march. As two part Adrian Morgan essay demonstrates, the Thai troubles are an integral part of the Islamist offensive:

The insurgents have been claimed by Thai officials to be motivated by local concerns, suggesting that there is little outside influence. Certain facts undermine this. The group Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) seeks to establish an Islamist"superstate" in southeast Asia. This group has known links to Al Qaeda and to other Islamist terror groups, such as Abu Sayyaf and Darul Islam. JI was founded in Malaysia around 1995 by two Indonesian clerics, Abdullah Sungkar (died in 1999) and Abu Bakar Bashir. The two had founded the Ngruki or Al Mukmin Muslim seminary in Solo, about 250 miles east of Jakarta, Indonesia. According to JI expert Dr Sidney Jones of the International Crisis Group, at least 30 known or suspected terrorists have graduated from this school.

One leader of JI was Hambali (pictured), also known as Riduan Isamuddin. He was caught in Thailand on August 11, 2003 in Ayutthaya, 50 miles north of Bangkok. Hambali ran the Hudaybiyah terror training camp in the Philippines. He was suspected of being involved in Operation Bojinka, a plot to bomb 11 US commercial planes in southeast Asia. He was transferred to Guantanamo in September 2006.

Hambali is believed to have planned the Bali bombings of October 12, 2002, in which 202 people died. He revealed under interrogation that while he plotted these attacks, he had stayed for three days in the south of Thailand, with hardline cleric Dr Ismail Lutfi. This cleric runs the Yala Islamic College, which teaches Saudi Wahhabism. Lutfi had been educated at the Muhammad bin Saud Islamic University in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. This institution has educated extremists such as Abdullah el-Faisal, currently in jail in Britain for soliciting murder. Lutfi denied any meetings with Hambali.

And, yes, outsiders help with funding:

On November 19, the Bangkok Post quoted a source who claimed that during the last Ramadan, 6,000,000 baht ($163,908) was given to insurgents by Muslims living abroad. The donors came from Egypt, Libya, Sweden, Indonesia, and Malaysia.

In other words, differences in history and geography not withstanding, the end of Islamist terror in Thailand like the fate of Islamist terror elsewhere depends on the success of the global war on Islamist terror. Oh, excuse me, I forgot that war is a mere bumper sticker and if only the US exited Iraq and Israel no longer existed, peace and tranquility would reign in the world. If you believe it, click here.

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