Skip to comments.Al-Qaeda's white-collar terror recruits
Posted on 07/12/2003 8:15:45 AM PDT by Destro
JULY 12, 2003 SAT
JI's white-collar terror recruits
Professionals, often from prestigious universities, use their knowledge and leadership to devastating effect
By Shefali Rekhi
RADICAL Islamists have successfully lured medical doctors, engineers, lecturers and other middle-class, white-collar professionals into terrorist circles.
Middle-class militants, Waemahad (left), Hashim.
An analysis of those arrested and still on the suspect list for terrorist activities in South-east Asia shows that some from the armed forces have also been won over by the militant cause.
Although some of these professionals studied at prestigious universities in the west, they used their expertise not for national welfare, but to enhance the degree of destruction in possible attacks.
They have also provided intellectual depth and leadership to terrorist networks.
The extent of their influence is not yet known and is difficult to gauge but analysts agree that each such case can influence many more.
Among the three arrested on June 10 for a Jemaah Islamiah (JI) plot to bomb embassies and tourist spots in Thailand was a medical doctor Waemahad Wae-dao.
The bombings were to be timed with the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting scheduled in October this year.
In between checking on his patients and running a drug store in the southern province of Narathiwat, Thai officials revealed that the doctor was also helping to forge passports for other members of the JI.
Near the top of the list of the most-wanted terrorists in the region is Professor Azahari Husin, a bomb-making expert.
The professor, who earned a doctorate from Reading University in Britain, was part of the geoinformation science and engineering faculty at Universiti Tecknologi Malaysia, in Johor, till his links to militancy became known last year. He has been at large ever since.
According to the Malay Mail, the bomb-making expert gained his expertise in Al-Qaeda's training camps in Afghanistan, before the fall of the Taleban in 2001.
But it is not known what made him turn to militancy.
Investigations into the Bali bombings have shown that he trained some of those suspected of carrying out the attacks.
Indonesian police recovered a manual from a house in Solo, Central Java. In it, Dr Azahari recommends that potassium chloride should be used with TNT to increase the destructive capability of the bombs, by 'as much as 80 per cent', the Malay Mail said.
'The trend is not surprising,' says Dr Andrew Tan, a specialist on conflicts with the Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies in Singapore.
'Whenever there are fundamental issues to be resolved, whenever there are widespread disparities, there are those in the middle classes who feel an urge to respond and join these groups.'
One case that caused a flutter earlier this year was that of a retired Malaysian lieutenant-colonel, who was found to be a member of a sleeper cell of Al-Qaeda.
The suspect, Abdul Manaf Kamsuri, had won three merit awards from Britain's acclaimed Sandhurst Military Academy, the Malay Mail said.
Then he took a nine-month stint in Bosnia-Herzegovina, as a member of the United Nations Protection Force.
Kamsuri was soon in touch with militant groups in Bosnia. He was arrested in February this year, the Associated Press reported.
Dr Tan says there is a disturbing number of cases of those from well-educated backgrounds taking to militancy.
He points out that the Moro Islamic Liberation Front leader Hashim Salamat studied at the prestigious Al-Azhar University in Cairo while the Moro National Liberation Front leader Nur Misuari studied at the University of Philippines.
In an article in the Australian Financial Review, David Martin writes that the Surabaya and Yogyakarta regional heads of the militant Laskar Jihad, in 2002, were a western-trained engineer and a medical doctor, respectively.
A suspect now under arrest in Singapore, Hashim Abas, who shot a video of the Yishun MRT station, was a service engineer.
But analysts also add that these cases should not be seen as indicative of a widespread phenomenon.
Dr Sidney Jones, who heads the Jakarta office of the International Crisis Group, says that in Indonesia, while radical Islam has reached many universities, it does not imply that all would turn terrorists. 'The JI isn't a mass social movement,'she says.
(Excerpt) Read more at straitstimes.asia1.com.sg ...
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It is in the breaking news sidebar!
But do you think NORAD will carefully track airliners from islamic countries and shoot them down if they divert from their flight path towards major urban area?
Not bloody likely.
Have you forgotten Egypt Air's crash over Long Island Sound?
I don't think the third world should have airliners or missiles or other complex technology with destructive potential. These things should be firmly controlled by a colonial government.
By the way, the Air Eygpt flight went down 100 miles off the Massachusetts coast. TWA Flight 800 went down in LI Sound.
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