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#35427 - 03 Nov 06 09:54 School of Terrorists
riccardo Offline

Registered: 12 Oct 05
Posts: 2195
Loc: Jakarta
This is a bit long, but it's a great piece by our friend Fabio on Abu Bakar Bashir's school near Solo. The same school that has created 30 known terrorists including the Bali Bombers. It was printed on Thursday in the influential South China Morning Post. It really begs the question as to how in the heck the government of Indonesia can allow this sort of thing to continue!

Training the faithful

An Indonesian school that numbers about 30 terrorists among its graduates denies it is a hotbed of radicalism, writes Fabio Scarpello

Gripped by a surge in terrorism, Indonesia has suffered the deaths of about 250 people in blasts throughout the archipelago since the 2002 Bali bombing. While virtually all the terrorists involved in the attacks had studied in pesantrens, or private Islamic boarding schools, there is one centre of learning that appears to have a sinister link to the trail of death - the Al-Mukmin, a pesantren situated in the sleepy village of Ngruki on the outskirts of Solo city.

The Ngruki, as the Central Java pesantren is referred to, is a no-frills complex, where the spartan quarters evoke a sense of rigid austerity. Entering the complex, a rudimentary court and a mosque are the most obvious features among the mostly white buildings that house the dormitories, refectory, school and library for about 1,800 santri, or students, aged between 10 and 16 years. For most of the year, the santri spend almost seven days a week within the Ngruki's walls.

Religious Arabic music, or nasyid, often blasts from speakers in the complex. A board next to the main gate displays the ominous maxim: "No prestige without jihad." One of the students, 12-year-old Omar, portrays an innocence and honesty at odds with the pesantren's reputation.

"I have many friends. We do many things together and we learn the Koran," he said with a broad smile. "Here, there is no one who wants to be a terrorist," Omar added, with an almost jerk-like reaction in defence of the Ngruki's reputation as a breeding ground for radicals.

Yet the reputation has some solid foundations. On the same bench where Omar now studies, a few years ago sat Ali Gufron, better known as Mukhlas, the man who went on to become the chief operative behind the October 12, 2002, bombing that killed 202 people on the island resort of Bali. Idris (Jhoni Hendrawan) and Mubarok (Hutomo Pamungkas) are two other former students who helped in the same attack. The same Ngruki also taught Asmar Latin Sani, the suicide bomber who killed 12 people when he blew himself up outside the Marriott Hotel in Jakarta on August 5, 2003.

A former santri and teacher at the pesantren was Fathur Rahman al-Ghozi, who planned to destroy the Australian embassy in Singapore and was shot dead by Filipino police in 2003. The example set by these terrorists has been followed by many. In all, about 30 terrorists who were arrested or killed in the past few years have been linked to the Ngruki.

Among them is also the notorious radical cleric Abu Bakar Bashir, cofounder of the Ngruki pesantren, and the alleged ideological leader of Jemaah Islamiah, the regional terrorist organisation fighting to unite most of Southeast Asia into a caliphate. The group is believed to be behind most of the largescale attacks in Indonesia over the past few years, the latest of which was a triple bombing that killed 22 people in Bali on October 1 last year.

Bashir was sentenced to 30 months in prison for having instigated the first Bali bloodshed. He has recently returned to the Ngruki after serving 26 months of his sentence.

Ali Usman, chairman of Indonesia's Ngruki alumni association, stressed that the members of his union were against terrorism, but ready to die in a holy war. "We are against terrorism. But we are for jihad fisabilillah, which means war, and we are ready to participate if called upon," he said.

Aleksius Jemadu, lecturer of international relations at Parahyangan Catholic University in Bandung, and an expert in religious conflict and intelligence, played down the hazard posed by the Ngruki in the context of the growing terrorist threat.

"I think the situation is quite different from the past. Things are more difficult for them now. The security services are monitoring them. They have learned from the past's errors," he said. The 30 terrorists linked to the pesantren are just a tiny percentage of the more than 15,000 students who have enrolled at the pesantren since it opened its doors in 1972.

The crimes were also committed a few years after the terrorists had left the school. In the time in between, several external factors contributed in shaping their conviction that jihad was to be carried out with bombs, and not, as most Islamic teachers say, by struggling in an inward battle to improve oneself. Among those factors, experts have highlighted poverty, ignorance and most of all, the various religious conflicts that bloodied Indonesia in the early 1990s. Prior to that, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan presented an ideal training ground for the rising wing of Southeast Asian radical Islam. Local Muslims' rage and the belief that they are at war has been further fuelled by the global "war on terror" led by US President George W. Bush, and the subsequent invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. Last in a long series of grievances is the Israeli-Lebanon war, in which thousands of Muslim civilians were killed.

Yet the mitigating factors can hardly hide the link between the Ngruki and militant Islam, the seeds of radicalism planted through the extremist and antagonistic version of Islam taught to young boys.

At the Ngruki, Islam seems to have lost its spiritual dimension and got stuck in an inflexible position that reduces everything to black and white, and leaves no space for dialogue. "Islam is the only true religion, and whoever is not a Muslim is an infidel," said the student Omar. These kinds of certainties are fed to students - little by little, day after day - by teachers who demand full obedience.

"At the Ngruki, there is only one truth," said former student Noor Huda Ismail, who attended the pesantren from 1985 to 1991 and is now studying for his doctorate on international politics at St Andrews University in Scotland. "Teachers read the Koran and interpret it in their own way. You don't even realise you're forced into believing in something. That's the way it is, and that is all there is to it; there are no alternatives. All discussions are centered in this radical interpretation of Islam," he said.

As Mr Noor recalled, the day starts early at the Ngruki - the dormitories' lights are switched on about 4.30am. Soon after, students meet at the mosque for the Subuh, the first of the five compulsory daily prayers. Breakfast at 6am is followed by five hours of school, when subjects such as Arabic, mathematics, science and English are taught. Although the curriculum is mandated by the government, pesantrens usually have some scope on what is taught within their walls.

At midday, it's time for the Dhuhur, the second daily prayer. Lunch is at one, followed by study, before going back to the mosque for the Asar, the third daily prayer.

The afternoon is busy with various informal activities chosen by the students, which include calligraphy, martial arts and speech practice. At six, it's time for the Maghrib, the fourth daily prayer, which is followed by a sermon delivered by the ustadz, the religious teacher.

Dinner is served about seven, and the Isya, the last daily prayer, is held soon after. In the dormitories, lights go out at 10pm.

The same routine is repeated every day, except Friday, which is considered the day of rest by Muslims.

"The best time for indoctrination is during the informal activities, when a teacher or a senior student can approach a gullible student and tell him what is right or wrong," said Mr Noor, who was once asked to join the hardline group Darul Islam by his former martial arts teacher, Abdurrohim.

Darul Islam is a clandestine group that wants to establish an Islamic state in Indonesia. Mr Noor declined. Abdurrohim, who like many Indonesians is known by one name, is wanted by the authorities.

Masdar Farid Mas'udi, director of Indonesian Society for Pesantren Development, agreed with Mr Noor and called for more attention on the Ngruki's activities outside class.

"The religious and educational authority visited the Ngruki in the past and they found no problems with its classroom teachings. But I think there should be more attention paid to the extra-curricula activities," he said, pointing out that the Ngruki is an exception to the rule.

"Pesantren are moderate institutions. They offer education to millions of people at very affordable prices. Without them, many Indonesians could not afford to send their children to school."

At the Ngruki, the slim-built and gentle-mannered Noor Hadi does not look like a recruiter. He learnt Arabic in the Middle East and now teaches it at the pesantren. "I hate violence in any shape or form. My Islam is a religion of peace," the professor said.

However, his hatred for violence and love for peace is not enough for him to condemn Mukhlas, Idris, Mubarok, Asmar, Ghozi and the other former students who crossed the line to terrorism, and whom he said he remembered "only vaguely".

"I'm not sure why they did it. Maybe because there was no other choice; maybe because they were grieving and they felt threatened," he said, aiming an accusing finger at western nations.

Edited by KuKuKaChu (03 Nov 06 10:24)

#35586 - 07 Nov 06 02:23 Re: School of Terrorists [Re: riccardo]
smilehap Offline

Registered: 04 Nov 06
Posts: 14
Loc: indonesia
high of walls can be brain wash..
they dedicated
own territory, own authorization, own defence, own believe, and own rulles.
who can touch?
no people says wrong as long as the word out of superior lips
sMiLe...SmIlE LIKE BABY smile....

#35588 - 07 Nov 06 03:00 Re: School of Terrorists [Re: smilehap]
KuKuKaChu Moderator Offline
Pooh Bah

Registered: 09 Oct 05
Posts: 10790
Loc: Centre of the Universe
the "superior lips" of parasites like abu bakar bashir, ted haggard and their ilk need to be exposed for what they really are: hypocrites riding on the death fear of the ignorant masses.
KuKuKaChu: dangerously too sophisticated


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