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cleric 'sowed seeds of australian islamic state'

  1. RobBlack

    841 Posts.

    The following article in today's Sydney Morning Herald, probably sparked the news stories which Rabbitoh was alluding to.

    Cleric 'sowed seeds of Australian Islamic state'
    By Linda Morris
    December 10 2002

    The suspected spiritual leader of Jemaah Islamiah, Abu Bakar Bashir, preached of establishing an Islamic state in Australia in his sermons to Sydney Muslims.

    In an audio-recording believed to feature his voice, and obtained by the Herald, the hardline cleric gives his broad support to jihad - the term for struggle - to bring Islamic law to the world, particularly Indonesia.

    He backs conflict and war in defence of the faith and says it is an "abasement" for Muslims to live in a "non-believing nation".

    But the speaker does not directly refer to the violent overthrow of the then Soeharto government or make any reference to terrorist actions.

    "The Islamic faithful in Australia must endeavour to bring about an Islamic state in Australia, even if it is 100 years from now," he told the gathering.

    Abu Bakar's message is on an audio-tape allegedly recorded at an evening prayer meeting at an unknown Sydney location in 1993.

    The al-Qaeda terrorist group and Jemaah Islamiah aspire to create an Islamic superstate in South-East Asia, called Daulah Islamiyah, which would embrace Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei, Thailand and Cambodia.

    Last month, the Philippines' national security adviser, Roilo Golez, told ABC's Four Corners that Abu Bakar, with al-Qaeda backing, was trying to include northern Australia in its plans.

    As secretary-general of the Mujahideen League, the cleric is alleged to have established four territorial groups, called mantiqis, to serve the aim of a pan-Islamic Asian state. One of those covered Irian Jaya and northern Australia.

    The former head of security for the Sydney Olympics, Paul McKinnon, said the idea of an Islamic superstate had surfaced time and time again in intelligence reports on militants, prepared for the Games.

    Videotapes of Abu Bakar's sermons have been seized from some of the Indonesian-Australians raided by ASIO but the audio-recording, if genuine as believed, represents the first credible evidence of his Australian statements.

    The scratchy recording contains background noise including babies crying, planes taking off and landing, sirens, trucks and traffic noise. The sermon lasts about 40 minutes and is preceded by recitation of extracts from the Koran.

    Abu Bakar has been in detention in Indonesia since October 20 as a suspect in a series of church bombings on Christmas Eve 2000 and a plot to assassinate Megawati Sukarnoputri before she became president.

    He is suspected of links to Jemaah Islamiah, the Asian offshoot of al-Qaeda, which shares JI's aim of a pan-Islamic state.

    The recording date tallies with a statement by Moshen Thalib, an Indonesian national raided by ASIO, who said Abu Bakar visited Australia up to twice a year between 1993 and 1996.

    Greg Fealy, research fellow and lecturer in Indonesian politics at the Australian National University, reviewed the transcript for the Herald and concluded that many of the statements rang true, including references to "Satan's Party" and "ravines of hostility and hate".

    As Abu Bakar came to public notice, Mr Fealy said, he had played down the notion of an Islamic state and emphasised an "Islamising of society".

    "It could mean the same thing but the distinction is you would create more devout Muslims as a pre-condition for a more Islamic country. In 1993 it was quite plausible he was talking of an Islamic state because at that stage he was more open."

    But Mr Fealy cautioned about public overreaction. "Advocating creation of an Islamic state should not be seen in itself as an act of terrorism because there is no injunction in these statements to violence."

    The speech is full of religious imagery. The world is divided between God's Party and Satan's Party. Political systems such as capitalism and communism were more "dangerous than death". Those not committed to the teachings of Islam, and who were dabbling in Christianity, Buddhism or their "culture and ancestors", were "followers of Satan's Party".

    "Meaning if, in the defence of our faith, conflict or war must occur, or if human life must be lost, this is still better than the deception of such systems."

    At the conclusion, he invites the devout to uphold the faith in Australia and create an Islamic state in Indonesia "in accordance with your individual capacity, and at the very least in your hearts".

    "A noble life is one that is regulated 100 per cent by God's law; namely, life in an Islamic state. How can we bring this into being? By working hard to undertake jihad to uphold the rule of God's law. There is no other way apart from this."

    He ends: "May God bless the struggle of our brethren in Australia who have demonstrated such loyalty, despite being surrounded by non-believers."

    This story was found at: http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2002/12/09/1039379788932.html

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