04/30/2011, 00.00
INDONESIA

Jakarta: extremist group recruits students to target Christians and introduce shariah

by Mathias Hariyadi
The former independence movement NII has turned into a cell of Islamic terrorism. Among the objectives a devastating attack during Easter, on a Protestant church. The explosion also targeted an oilpipeline nearby the Christian building. Civil society calls on President Yudhoyono for less talk and more action.
 Jakarta (AsiaNews) - An emerging Islamic terrorist group recruits followers among university students and, through brainwashing, prepares them for suicide bombings or bomb attacks against sensitive targets, including Christian churches. It has been confirmed by the Indonesian police that the former separatist movement "NII or Negara Islam Indonesia" - the Islamic state Indonesia - has now turned into an extremist group in the network of terror. It recently orchestrated an attack on a Protestant church that only by accident, did not result in a bloodbath.

The acronym NII in the decades has become the symbol of the Muslim separatist struggle, which aims to impose Islamic law - Shariah - in Indonesia and introduce a full range of behaviors, lifestyles and patterns derived from the Arabic culture such as the beard, jilbab or the burqa. Today it has changed the face, becoming involved in the fundamentalist terror network, its leaders have adopted techniques like brainwashing to recruit young people in universities and train them to carry out attacks or bombings.

Police spokesman Amar Boy Rafly reports that the NII terrorist group arose five years ago and promotes the recruitment in schools, propagating an extremist vision of Islam. Among the objectives of the recent attack on the Christ Church Cathedral - a modern, luxurious building - at Gading Serpong, in the city of Tangerang, Banten province, about 20 km west of Jakarta. The mastermind of the massacre is 31 year old Fernando Pepi, a former student of the Islamic State University (Uin) and originally from West Java. The police stopped him on April 27 last, with his wife and seven other members of the NII.

The attackers wanted to place explosive charges in the property that is located not far from a state-owned pipeline. In recent days, a small charge exploded, but the real objective was a larger explosion capable of causing hundreds of casualties in the celebration of Easter. The material for the assassination plot was bought on the black market - at least 120 km of explosives - and, according to the terrorists, would have led to a massacre.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has alerted the Indonesian civil society as a whole, noting that the terrorist group constitutes a real threat for the country. However, the majority of citizens are skeptical of the claims of the Head of State regarding extremist movements: empty words without any decisive action.
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