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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 3 of 3)

When two men accused of detonating a bomb in the Petra Christian Church in Jakarta in November 2001 were found to have fought under Fadillah in Maluku, the Indonesian national police described their militia as the "Mujahidin Kompak."
The often confusing welter of names and apparently overlapping missions of various groups underscores the fluid nature of organizations close to Al Qaeda. Rather than a hierarchy with Osama bin Laden at the top, Al Qaeda and its affiliates have overlapping circles of influence and cooperation.

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"What you're seeing in Indonesia, as we've seen elsewhere, is that Al Qaeda is a network of networks,'' says Lee Wolosky, a lawyer who tracked terrorist financing for the National Security Council during the Clinton administration.
Dwikarna's friends and associates continue to reject any ties to violence. "Anyone who says Kompak was helping militias is lying,'' says Iswari al-Farisi, the deputy commander of Jundullah and a close friend of Dwikarna. Farisi says Kompak's videos were part of its charity effort. "We made them to document atrocities, and to show people that we needed to send help there,'' he says.

That militias were often in the videos merely reflected reality - "it wasn't safe to distribute aid if there wasn't protection." But to Achmad Abdi, the director of criminal research for the South Sulawesi police, the links to violence are clear.
"Dwikarna was the commander of the Laskar Jundullah, and we have evidence that a number of Laskar Jundullah members engaged in bomb attacks," he says.

Playing upon emotions

The Maluku war fit the paradigm being spun by preachers like alleged JI leader Bashir - and Kompak's video was made to play upon the emotions of its audience. It opens with ominous music playing over footage of homes destroyed in a Christian attack on a Muslim village. There are shots of surgeries conducted without anesthesia in rough field hospitals, and of crying babies in the arms of forlorn mothers. A burning, white-walled Protestant church is shown, while men off-camera shout "God is great." A caption explains the church was burned "because it insulted Islam."

Cardboard boxes of aid, many stamped "Government of Kuwait," are shown being distributed to Muslim families under the watchful eyes of militants.

There is the funeral of Abu Dzar. The film ends with a request that donations be sent to a Kompak bank account.
Donations - and recruits - poured in. But things went sour for Dwikarna during a trip to the Philippines in March 2002, when he and two associates were arrested at Manila's international airport and accused of transporting explosives in their luggage. The police said they had been buying weapons in the south. Dwikarna was later sentenced to 10 years in jail.

A wave of bomb attacks

To this day, Dwikarna and his supporters insist the charges in the Philippines were trumped up. Suryani says her husband was there to consider investing in a coal mine. She suspects he was arrested because of his support for sharia.

Nevertheless, veterans of Laskar Mujahidin and Laskar Jundullah have been tied to a wave of bomb attacks against churches and businesses in Indonesia from December 2000 to late 2002, and two of Dwikarna's associates have been charged with planning the Bali attack. The propaganda he had helped to create had done its job.

Key operatives in terror

Agus Dwikarna Businessman; main contact in Indonesia for Omar al-Faruq
Omar al-Faruq Alleged to have been Al Qaeda's main relationship manager in Southeast Asia.
Haris Fadillah Leader of the Laskar Mujahidin, a militia group active in the Maluku provinces; father-in-law of Omar al-Faruq.
Abu Zubaydah Leader of Al Qaeda's external operations.