Australian terror cell may still be active
A cell of up to thirty jihadis may remain active in Australia, says the man who indoctrinated them while establishing a local branch of Jemaah Islamiah.
Radical Islamic cleric Abdul Rahman Ayub, who was the deputy leader of JI in Australia to his twin brother Abdul Rahim, has said they were sent by Indonesia's Abu Bakar Bashir, in 1997 to train young radicals in their version of Islam. The brothers stayed until 2002, fleeing around the time of the Bali bombing.
Ayub said the brothers had taught about 100 people. He said, "When I came back from Australia in 2002, to my knowledge there were about 30 people [who were still radicals in Australia]. I don't know about their recent development, whether they're still active or not, but I believe they are still there. Neither I nor ASIO know the exact figures, nor how active they are."
Once one of Australia's most wanted men, Ayub also acknowledged he wanted to make Australia a financial hub for an attempt to overthrow the Indonesian state.
Ayub was trained in Afghanistan between 1986 and 1992. He was an expert in unarmed combat, and worked with Bali bombers Hambali (whose wedding he helped pay for) and Mukhlas (whom he sparred with in kung fu). He said at one time he respected Bashir "more than I respected my parents".
He denied advance knowledge of the Bali attack and insisted he never wanted an attack on Australian soil. He said, "My mission was to preach Islam ... Bashir told us not to commit any violence in Australia - we treated Australia as a country for taking political asylum. But we did teach jihad against Indonesia, against Suharto at the time. We taught about forming an Islamic state, but in Indonesia, not in Australia."
He said Australia was to be "our financial base to financially support our struggle in Indonesia", though that plan had not worked out.
They did recruit British immigrant and Muslim convert Jack Roche to JI - who was arrested and imprisoned in 2002 for conspiring to bomb the Israeli embassy in Canberra. After they recruited him, Roche went to Indonesia where he met terrorist mastermind Hambali.
Ayub said, "Hambali influenced him with this Osama [bin Laden] doctrine and helped him go to al-Qaeda camp. It happened without our knowledge. When Roche returned [to Australia] he acted differently. He didn't obey me, and we suspected something was wrong."
Ayub said September 11, Bali and Roche's plot were mistakes that had changed how Islam was seen in the West and had changed his own faith in violent jihad. Ayub now says, "I was furious. I was very against those attacks because it hurts Muslims themselves. It hurts people in general all over the world. It hurts humanity, and it hurts our principles."
He works in the Jakarta area as a freelance theologian. His brother, who left Australia three days after the Bali bombing, runs two schools. Abdul Rahim did not want to be interviewed but, according to Abdul Rahman, has now also given up his belief in violent jihad.
Posted by: ryuge