SIXTH COLUMN

"History is philosophy teaching by example." (Lord Bolingbroke)

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Saturday, November 26, 2005

The March of the Extremists: Attacks Threaten Religious Harmony in Southeast Asia

There is no surprise here. From the beginning, thuggish warriors led by Mohammed, on the backs of horses and camels, using fire and sword, murder and mayhem, have ground countless peoples and cultures under the Muslim boot. Only the scope has changed.

Contemporary technology is allowing them to cut a greater swath than ever before as ocean-going ships and air transport is opening up opportunities to spread their vile ideology of hate, murder and violence.

Each world region is under attack. Recent events in North America and Europe are only tiny fraction of what other parts of the world are suffering at Muslim hands:

Buddhist monks are being murdered, Christian schoolchildren beheaded and dissenters blown up. Southeast Asia's peaceful co-existence among religions is under siege, from Bangkok to Jakarta. Meanwhile, politicians and military leaders are using Islamic fervor to boost their own power...

Terror is everywhere. Although Indonesia recently reported the death of dangerous bomb-maker Azahari bin Husin ("Dr. Azahari"), a member of the notorious Indonesian terrorist organization Jemaah Islamiyah and the man believed responsible for the 2002 attacks in Bali, among other acts of terror, the whereabouts of the more than 40 suicide bombers he trained remain a mystery. In Australia, authorities reportedly managed, at the last minute, to prevent a group of Muslim extremists from staging "an attack on the scale of the London bombings." The would-be attackers had apparently singled out the country's only nuclear power plant as their target.

But "the most dangerous battle" in Southeast Asia's religious melting pot, says al-Qaida expert Rohan Gunaratna, "is currently being waged in southern Thailand." Indeed, the growing violence is proving a challenge to the Thai military, as evidenced by the fact that Thailand's version of the "Marines" have barricaded themselves behind barbed wire and sand bags in the town of Yala. Even the country's elite forces face the threat of car bombs, snipers and suicide bombers.

Not a day goes by here without an attack. On some days, state-run schools are set on fire and teachers murdered, and on others unknown attackers in pickup trucks target Muslim teahouses in drive-by shootings. In late October, a train carrying military recruits was blown from its tracks. Last Wednesday, armed assailants armed with machine guns and hand grenades wiped out a nine-member Muslim family because the father had worked as a police informant.

Fighting a war against a shadow army

Who is behind these attacks? Army spokesman Lieutenant Somkuan Saenypatharanetr is a tall, thin man with delicate facial features. "There are no letters claiming responsibility for the attacks," he says, "we are fighting a war against a shadow army."

Western terrorism experts already refer to southern Thailand as an Asian Caucasus. According to the Brussels-based International Crisis Group, two groups are responsible for the unrest, the "Patani Islamic Mujahidin Group" and "New Pulo," both offshoots of a once-powerful guerilla organization that until the 1980s fought for a separation of Thailand's 2.4 million Muslims from the country's 60 million Buddhists -- and for an independent Muslim state.


Throughout history, the pattern has always been the same.

Read the entire sorry story.
Hattip: Fjordman

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