How Al Qaeda lit the Bali fuse: Part two
Religious-teaching sessions that included films of Christian-Muslim conflict in Indonesia energized young men to join in jihad.
(Page 2 of 3)
Charismatic leaders like Mr. Bashir, the alleged JI leader, currently on trial in Jakarta, are fond of warning about efforts to Christianize Indonesia, and stress the glory of dying as an Islamic martyr. Their ultimate goal is not just an Islamic state in Indonesia, but one encompassing Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and the southern Philippines.Skip to next paragraph
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A friendship forms
Dwikarna and Faruq had become friendly in Makassar in 1999, though intelligence analysts say it's possible the two men met in the southern Philippines, in the 1990s, where both had ties to militant groups. Faruq had also trained at Al Qaeda's Camp Khalden in Afghanistan in the early 1990s with a Makassar militant and associate of Dwikarna, named Syawal Yassin, who might have made the introduction.
The relationship was cemented by a confluence of needs: Faruq had access to money from Middle Eastern charities, and Dwikarna had uses for it. Faruq was sent to Indonesia to help the more militant proponents of Islamic law, the cause Dwikarna had been working on for most of his life.
Described as engaging and hardworking by friends in Makassar, Dwikarna was close to powerful figures, from Tamsil Linrung, the finance secretary for the Party of Indonesia's House Speaker Amien Rais, to Hadi Awang, the deputy leader of the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party, that country's principal political opposition.
Aiding displaced Muslims
When Dwikarna set up Kompak, its official mission was to provide aid to Muslims displaced by the turmoil that followed the collapse of the Suharto dictatorship in 1998.
His wife, Suryani, says he was particularly fond of working with troubled young men, many tied to the city's gangs.
"He wanted to work with youth, because that's where you can create the most change,'' she says. "He would play soccer with them, and afterwards they'd talk about Islam."
Dwikarna's talks often focused on the need for a more aggressive Indonesian Islam to counter what he saw as inordinate Christian influence on Indonesian politics. He favored Saudi-style dress codes for women, Islamic law instead of secular law, and distrust of the central government.
He also began making frequent trips to the Maluku capital of Ambon after the fighting started there in early 1999. Suryani remembers her husband was "distraught and emotional" after one trip to Ambon, in which he saw horrific injuries at a makeshift hospital in the Al Fatah Mosque.
After Muslim-Christian fighting erupted in the Sulawesi region of Poso in mid-2000, Dwikarna began traveling there as well. Suryani says he was inspired when he returned to Makassar to preach to youths he'd worked with about the suffering in Maluku, and the need to protect Moslems there.
That same year, Dwikarna created a new organization called the Laskar Jundullah, or "Militia of God," and he was named its commander. "Militia is just a word. It doesn't mean they were really violent or anything," Suryani says.
The Laskar Jundullah was deeply involved in the Poso fighting, while the Laskar Mujahidin was more involved in Maluku. The two groups were not the only Muslim militia in the conflict, but the Jundullah and Mujahidin were set apart by their international links.
In 2001, Dwikarna set up a military-style training camp near Poso. His friend Faruq conducted training along with Laskar Jundullah members at an Islamic boarding school in the neighboring province of East Kalimantan (Borneo) in 2001 and 2002, according to a transcript of Faruq's interrogation by US intelligence.
Would-be fighters were also dispatched for training with Muslim militants in the lawless southern Philippines. That region also became a source of guns and explosives, according to the Philippine government.
The relationship of Kompak's leaders with the Laskar Jundullah and the Laskar Mujahidin blurred the line between aiding victims and creating them through 2000 and 2001.