The police on Sunday blocked a web blog publishing an article said to be written by terrorist fugitive Abdullah Sonata. He called on fellow former convicted terrorists to keep their faith in jihad and not to follow the footsteps of those he said had become anshoru thogut or “the helpers of evil”.
The message surfaced as the anti-terror squad intensified the hunt for Sonata, said to be the most dangerous suspected terrorist following the demise of Noordin M. Top, Azhari and Dulmatin.
He is also believed to be a teacher of military tactics, with a natural gift for recruiting new followers.
Abdullah expressed his fears that many former fellow militants had now left the path of jihad, criticizing some groups including the hard-line magazine Sabili, which he said was only “good” at talking.
He said at www.7ihadmedia.wordpress.com: “...many of the activists, including those who have gone for jihad, abandoned it because they have been pre-occupied by trading, religious propagation and education...even many of these have wittingly or unwittingly become Bani Abas [the followers of Abas].”
He was referring to Nasir Abbas, a former member of the terror group Jamaah Islamiyah who has actively campaigned against terrorism and recently set up an NGO aiming to raise public awareness about terrorist recruitment methods.
“Abdullah mentioned my name in the blog to prevent others from joining me to go back to their sense,” Nasir told The Jakarta Post.
He said Abdullah had abused the verses of the Koran on the blog to spread terror and to discourage former convicted terrorists and jihadists from dialogue with moderates.
“Abdullah has imposed social sanctions on followers who have joined discussions with me,” he said.
National Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Zulkarnaen said that they were still investigating those behind the blog and coordinating with law enforcers in the US to close it
“The IP address for Wordpress is in the US,” he said.
Nasir said the blog message was meant to threaten the government and the public, not him personally.
He explained that the words “evil doers and apostates” used by Sonata refer to police and government as well as Muslims who he said had strayed from the path of Islam.
“I and other colleagues believe that Abdullah did write this message. He probably gave it to someone to post on the blog,” Nasir said, adding that at first he doubted his former colleague was the writer.
“His writing style and language matches the writing on the blog,” said Nasir, who knew Abdullah in 2004 when they were in Cipinang Penitentiary.
Nasir was a weapons specialist for Jamaah Islamiyah and fought in the Philippines, Indonesia and Afghanistan; while Abdullah underwent military training in the Philippines and fought alongside Muslim rebels in the Mindanao.
The blog has attracted public attention, as well possible followers of Abdullah and his group, attracting positive comments from some supporters on his writings. These comments eventually link to similar blogs.
Although the first blog that published the article has been blocked, the article has spread and become an instant Internet meme. A blog at prisonerofjoy.blogspot.com even provides the English translation of Sonata’s message.
The government has been criticized in its antiterrorism strategy for failing to deradicalize most of the convicted terrorists. The International Crisis Group in its recent report highlighted the lax monitoring of prisons and ex-prisoners as one of the main problems hindering efforts to root out terrorism,
In his message, Abdullah recalled that when he was in Cipinang he took a long-distant religious lesson from his mentor and cleric Mukhlash via mobile phone.
Mukhlash advised him to continue with jihad and not to be traumatized by the arrests of others or to become friends with the enemy. Abdullah was arrested in 2005 sentenced to seven years in jail in 2006 and then released in 2009 on good behavior, and is now sought again by the police. (ipa)