Monday, September 21, 2009

Noordin Top is dead at last - does it signal the end of terror for Indonesia?


I don't like to say about anybody "I'm glad he's dead." But in the case of Noordin Mohammad Top, I'll make an exception. I am glad he's dead and I hope he's getting bummed by Satan right now with no vaseline.

The Malaysian-born Top was explosives expert, recruiter and financier for a spate of bombings in Indonesia such as the Bali Bombings of 2002 and 2005, the recent attack on the JW Marriott and Ritz-Carlton Hotels in Jakarta, and the 2004 attack on the Australian Embassy in Jakarta. This is the guy who decided that the terrorist group Jemaah Islamiyah was just not violent enough, so he set up an even more radical splinter group inspired by al-Qaeda.

He somehow managed to evade police time and time again, which built up a mystique around him that was no doubt enticing to potential recruits. But his luck ran out
on Thursday when he was shot in a police raid on a house in Solo, Central Java.

He started out as an accountant, by the way. Who said accountants were boring?

The question now is what Top's death means for terror in Indonesia, a country that has suffered more than its share of attacks. Clearly, his demise will be a blow to his extremist group, and will no doubt mean that less innocents are killed. But while Top had a rare knack for explosives and orchestrating attacks, unfortunately there are plenty more where he came from.

There's an article definitely worth reading here about the future of Indonesia and how it deals with the threat of increasingly radicalised Islam. It was written just before Top's death, but apart from that it's on-point; it details how a country that was once the world's shining light for liberal Islam is gradually being drawn into the same spiral of intolerance that afflicts so many other Islamic countries.

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