Madrid Attack Reverberates in South Pacific

Muslim extremists world-wide are exulting over the success of al Qaeda’s attack on Spain, and promising similar attacks in their regions. This account, from the Sydney Morning Herald is typical:

There are up to 5000 followers of the terrorist group Jemaah Islamiah in Indonesia and radical Islamic schools there are producing even more recruits to the cause of violent extremism, the Foreign Minister, Alexander Downer, has warned.
His grave assessment of the terrorist threat on Australia’s doorstep, outlined in an interview with the Herald, reveals a more extensive JI presence than previously thought.
The revelation comes as JI’s reported spiritual leader, Abu Bakar Bashir, soon to be released from jail, has forecast a holy war against the countries that supported the US-led invasion of Iraq.
“I am convinced that sooner or later America, and the countries that assist it, will be destroyed in the name of Allah,” the radical Muslim cleric told Channel 7 news in an interview secretly taped in his cell in Jakarta’s Salemba jail. Bashir said the Spanish people were right to link the Madrid train bombings with their ousted government’s support for the Americans in Iraq.
[Downer] identified another area of concern as the continuing funding by wealthy Wahabist Saudis and Yemenis of mosques in South-East Asia which were being used to promote radical Islamic ideology and in some cases provide training for extremists.
Mr Downer revealed a two-pronged strategy to combat at grassroots level the fomenting of radical Islam – helping Indonesia to reform its schools, and promoting moderate Islamic figures.

Why, by the way, is Bashir “soon to be released from jail”? It’s fair to say that no country, including the United States, has yet gotten serious about terrorism. But we’re a long way ahead of everyone else.

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