Romans 12:19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay," says the Lord.

Southeast Asia Islamists hail bin Laden a martyr

By Olivia Rondonuwu
JAKARTA | Wed May 4, 2011

JAKARTA(Reuters) - Indonesian Islamists hailed Osama bin Laden as a martyr on Wednesday, illustrating sympathy for the al Qaeda leader killed by U.S. forces among Southeast Asian militant groups, one of which predicted a major reprisal attack.

Indonesia and the Philippines, both home to militants with links to al Qaeda, have stepped up security after the killing of bin Laden on Monday, with Jakarta increasing police presence ahead of an annual meeting of regional leaders at the weekend.

"If it is true that was him, it was bin Laden who won, he has had that victory he dreamt of, that is to be shot dead as a martyr by his enemy," said Son Hadi, spokesman for Jema'ah Ansharut Tauhid, a legal Islamist group founded by firebrand cleric Abu Bakar Bashir.

"The impact of his demise is that Osama will be appreciated with prayers, support and some hateful comments against the U.S.," he said. "I am certain that the U.S. will experience a major disaster."

Links between al Qaeda and domestic militant groups such as Jemaah Islamiah and Abu Sayyaf have weakened in recent years following military crackdowns, and analysts say a quick reprisal attack is unlikely.

"I think the major impact would be in Indonesia," said Sidney Jones, of the International Crisis Group in Jakarta. "I think if groups are bent on trying to mount a revenge attack, it will take some time to put even a simple plot together."

Al Qaeda is believed to have supported some of the Jemaah Islamiah's attacks, such as the 2002 Bali bombings that killed more than 200 people.

Recent militancy in Indonesia, such as a spate of parcel bombs in the capital, appears more aimed at domestic targets such as police or those promoting pluralism.

Indonesia's Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) held a meeting on Wednesday to show gratitude for the "services" of "martyr" bin Laden at its headquarters in Jakarta.

A poster on a wall near the venue said bin Laden's killing by the U.S. military was cowardly and infidels had celebrated with a party over his death.

"May in future be born other Osamas who are even braver to fight for Islam," the poster said.

"Our blood is boiling because we want to crush the American soldiers to bits," said a speaker at the event.


The group, whose members are known for wielding bamboo canes and "moral policing" by smashing up bars in Jakarta, has never been linked to any major attack or wider political aims. It seems to operate with impunity from officials, worried of appearing un-Islamic in the world's most populous Muslim country.

At one point during the gathering, a speaker shouted "America" and hundreds of people, most of them men wearing white skull caps, cried back: "Destroy!"

Risk consultancy group Control Risks said gatherings by sympathetic Islamist groups could risk descending into violence.

Muslim leaders said controversies over the U.S. operation, from the killing of the unarmed bin Laden to his burial at sea, may cause resentment.

Others said the risk was present but unchanged in a region attracting growing investment interest from foreign firms for its strong economic growth and surging capital markets.

"Although bin Laden continues to inspire violence as he did in life, his death is unlikely to affect the overall terrorist threat in Indonesia," said Jakarta-based consultants Concord.

An Indonesian militant, Umar Patek, who also has links to the Abu Sayyaf group in the Philippines, was arrested this year in the same town where bin Laden was found, a security source said.

"We think he was up to something bigger," the security source told Reuters. "Patek was not in Pakistan by accident. There was a network that was prepared for his arrival there."

In Manila, security has also been tightened, with checkpoints on main streets, and police cars parked outside the U.S. embassy. Guards frisked people and opened bags at malls.

"While there is no report of an immediate threat to metropolitan Manila, the government has nonetheless deemed it prudent up upgrade security," said national security adviser Cesar Garcia.

(Additional reporting by Manny Mogato in MANILA; Writing by Neil Chatterjee; Editing by Robert Birsel)


Iraqi cleric Sadr vows revenge over shrine blast

22 Feb 2006 12:47:46 GMT
Source: Reuters

BAGHDAD, Feb 22 (Reuters) - Shi'ite Muslim cleric Moqtada al-Sadr blamed the bombing of a Shi'ite shrine in the Iraqi town of Samarra on Wednesday on Sunni Arab militants and vowed to take revenge, a spokesman for Sadr said.

"We will not only condemn and protest but we will act against those militants. If the Iraqi government does not do its job to defend the Iraqi people we are ready to do so," said Abdel Hadi al-Darajee of Sadr's position.

Members of Sadr's Mehdi Army militia have already clashed with Sunnis in Diwaniya and Basra.

Sunni Arab militants loyal to al Qaeda have claimed responsibility for many of the bombing attacks that have killed thousands of Shi'ites.

Sadr, who led two uprisings against U.S. and Iraqi troops, has become a kingmaker in Iraqi politics after joining a Shi'ite alliance that will have the biggest bloc in parliament after Dec. 15 elections.

Witnesses said scores of his militiamen armed with AK-47 assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenades took over streets in his Baghdad stronghold of Sadr City after the Samarra attack. (Reporting by Omar al-Ibadi)


Muslim Group Pledges Violence Against Cartoon Offenders

February 04, 2006 10:00 AM EST

By Sher Zieve – Another Muslim group has pledged violence against citizens of all countries who published Muhammad cartoons. On Saturday, global Muslim riots over the ostensible offense of publishing caricatures of the Muslim prophet Muhammad are said to be continuing.

The Muslim group Abu-Rish Brigades stated: “We'll abduct and hurt all citizens of the European countries who hurt Islam's feelings and honor!” Although the cartoons represent an application of free speech, the EU’s Justice Commissioner Franco Frattini officially entered the controversy when he said that it was “imprudent” to publish the cartoons “even if the satire used was aimed at a distorted interpretation of religion.”


Quest for vengeance fuels Iraqi violence

Cycle of Shiite vs. Sunni attack and response is rooted in tribal identity.


Monday, November 20, 2006

The New York Times

BAGHDAD, Iraq – As Iraq sinks deeper into war, a new pattern of revenge has become the driver of violence in the capital.

In a cycle that has been tracked by the American military in May and June, after months of apparently random sectarian violence, the pattern has been one of attack and counterattack, with Sunni militants staging what commanders call "spectacular" strikes, and Shiite militias striking back with abductions and murders of Sunnis.

Militias come to funerals and offer to carry out revenge. Gunmen execute blindfolded people in full public view. Mortars are lobbed between Sunni and Shiite neighborhoods. Sometimes the killers seem to be seeking people involved in prior attacks, but many victims lose their lives simply to even the sectarian toll.

"The problem is that every time there's a sensational event, that starts the whole sectarian cycle again," said Maj. Gen. William B. Caldwell IV, the chief spokesman for the American command in Iraq. "If we could stop the cyclical nature of this in Baghdad, we could really change the dynamics here."

Caldwell said a recent and intensive series of raids against al-Qaida cells as well as against Shiite militias that have struck back at Sunnis, had seriously degraded some of their networks. U.S. commanders say civilian casualties in the capital have declined since late August, but similar declines have occurred before, only to head up again.

Scores of survivors and witnesses have registered the shift in interviews, describing often highly personal attacks far more often by a bullet in the head than a bomb. In the past eight days, at least 715 Iraqis have been killed or have been found dead, according to The Associated Press. The death toll has reached 1,320 already this month, according to AP's count.

The sectarian violence that exploded after the bombing of a major Shiite shrine in Samarra in February settled into this new, personalized cycle of revenge, in which Sunnis and Shiites in many Baghdad neighborhoods are now openly at war.

Iraqis are hardening against one another as the deaths chip away at any remaining trust between the two communities and radicalize larger portions of their fringes. The killings are sometimes as brutal as they were under Saddam Hussein; corpses are found with drill holes, acid burns and broken bones.

The hatred evident on both sides presents new challenges to the military, which must face this increasingly complex Iraqi landscape in which larger numbers of ordinary people are involved in killing.

"We shouldn't talk in a false way, that we are all brothers," said Faaz, a young Shiite graduate student, who follows Abu Dera, a militant leader, and who, like most people here, would not give his full name. "We have to admit there is a wound. It is a vicious, destructive war."

In Naariya in southeastern Baghdad, the pattern began in a flash of gunfire on a sunny September morning, when eight friends were killed while putting up a poster of a Shiite cleric. In the following days, Sunni men in the area began to quietly disappear. The bodies of at least 20 were found in Shiite areas, three of their families said in interviews.

Some of the men were taken in front of their families, forced at gunpoint into cars. Others simply disappeared. Families counted 20 to 40 dead. Americans tracking the Sunni deaths verified 17, according to residents they questioned.

An uneasy suspicion fell over the neighborhood. The police station, largely infiltrated by the Shiite militia called the Mahdi Army, did not even have a record of the disappearances. Mohamed Faisal, the brother of one of the slain Shiites, said he did not believe the reports of the Sunni deaths. The funerals for the eight Shiites drew large crowds. The Sunni ones did not.

"Where were their funerals?" he said, sitting in his tiny room in the neighborhood, holding his dead brother's 5-month-old baby. "We didn't see their numbers."

The kidnappings seemed calculated to wipe away any remaining trust. Sunnis started to leave the neighborhood – about 50 families according to a rough count by Sunni residents and a police official. Sometime later, the word spread through mosques that it was safe to return.

Hamid Salman al-Dulaimy, 65, was happy to go back with friends. But several hours after he reinstalled himself at home, gunmen arrived in four cars, pointed guns at the heads of two of his sons and asked for identification cards. They took Dulaimy and his brother. Their bodies were found in a Shiite area several days later.

"You said we could come back here," one of the sons, Zaid, recalled saying to the gunmen.

Zaid was taken several days after he was interviewed. He is still missing.

In some cases, the force behind all the revenge resides in Iraq's tribes, the network of communities that form the fabric of society here. With the world around them turning increasingly chaotic and the government largely impotent, Iraqis are retreating to the safety of their tribes – and the militias to which their members belong – to seek justice.

"This fighting, killing Sunnis and Shias, this is deep in the history of these tribes," said Husham al-Madfai, an architect and history buff. "They call it revenge. This is in the history of the country, in the blood of the people."

Killing is an ugly thing, not something Iraqis speak about openly. But its traces are everywhere, even in public places. Arkan lives in Ur, a neighborhood in northeast Baghdad that borders the area of the Shiite militant, Abu Dera. He has seen at least four executions of Sunnis, and one attempted one, of an Egyptian man.

In January, the authorities in Ur found 18 bodies, in June, 30, and in August, 90, according to the local police authorities.

The executions in Ur jumped several days after the shooting deaths of Shiite pilgrims in a construction materials market in August. One man in the area said he saw 14 killings in the days that followed.

In Sugel Uleh, a market area in Sadr City where a Sunni bomb gouged out a large crater this summer, Shiite gunmen shot dead at least eight men in its center. The timing: during funerals for some of the Shiites killed in the bombing, a witness said.