Monday, June 20, 2005

fwd: Who are the suicide bombers? Pakistan's answer.

Subject: Who are the suicide bombers? Pakistan's answer.
Date: Jun 17, 2005

> Christian Science Monitor
> June 17, 2005, Friday
> Who are the suicide bombers? Pakistan's answer.
> By Owais Tohid
> In four years, 28-year-old Gul Hasan went from laying bricks to
> recruiting suicide bombers. An antiterrorism court convicted Mr.
> Hasan this month of planning suicide attacks on Shiite mosques in
> Karachi that killed dozens of worshipers. Now he faces the gallows.
> How people like Hasan get involved with militant Islam, and what they
> do to recruit others, are questions of increasing urgency in
> Pakistan, which has seen a spate of suicide bombings in recent weeks.
> The attacks were carried out by splinter groups formed in the wake of
> a Pakistani crackdown on militant Islamic organizations after Sept.
> 11, 2001. Smaller and more isolated than their parent organizations,
> these splinter groups receive financial backing from Al Qaeda and
> draw their recruits from the ranks of the poor and enraged, say
> Pakistani investigators.
> "This is a new breed [of militants], as suicide bombings are a post
> 9/11 phenomenon here," says Fateh Mohammad Burfat, head of the
> Criminology Department at the University of Karachi. The bombers
> are "unemployed, illiterate, and belong to poor social strata. [They
> also] perceive the US military actions in Iraq and Afghanistan as
> hostile acts against the Muslim world... By suicide attacks, they get
> a sense of victory in the world and hereafter."
> Hasan entered the world of militant Islam when his brother, a member
> of the splinter group Lashkar-e Jhangvi, was arrested. Over time,
> Hasan went from being a simple carrier of weapons to a dangerous
> militant leader in Karachi responsible for recruiting and
> transporting suicide bombers, say police officials.
> Rising through the ranks
> The splinter groups "provide the new entrants with poisonous
> extremist literature to brainwash them, and then start giving them
> responsibilities from shifting weapons to providing refuge to wanted
> militants," says Gul Hameed Samoo, a Karachi police official. "One
> rises through the ranks after fulfilling [certain] tasks."
> The leaders recruit them for different purposes, with agendas ranging
> from killing Shiites to liberating Muslims from "infidels." The new
> trend of suicide bombings is packaged as a "ticket to Paradise."
> Many of the splinter groups' top leadership fought in Afghanistan and
> Kashmir. They are believed to have made contacts and trained with
> Arab militants in Afghanistan.
> Police investigators describe three layers of organization behind
> suicide attacks. In most of the cases, the mastermind is Al Qaeda,
> which gets in touch through a courier with the leader of a jihadi
> splinter group who plans the attack. The attacker is often
> a "brainwashed" jihadi.
> In the case of the unsuccessful suicide attack against Pakistani
> President Pervez Musharraf on Christmas Day 2003, police say the
> mastermind was Abu Faraj, an Al Qaeda operative now in custody; the
> planner was Amjad Farooqi; the slain chief of Lashkar-e Jhangvi; and
> the bomber was a local jihadi.
> In a New York Times opinion piece on Tuesday, Peter Bergen, author
> of "Holy War, Inc.," and Swati Pandey argued that the Islamic
> terrorists behind many of the attacks against the West are well-
> educated - not brainwashed youth from madrassahs, or Islamic schools.
> In a sampling of 75 terrorists involved in attacks against
> Westerners, they found that 53 percent had attended college - a
> figure slightly higher than US averages. "[Madrassahs] are not and
> should not be considered a threat to the United States," the authors
> wrote.
> In Pakistan, where many of the suicide attacks do not directly target
> Westerners, the Al Qaeda masterminds are often well- educated, but
> the planners and the bombers themselves generally are not.
> "There are leaders who look out for suicide bombers and usually find
> the simple, unemployed religious-minded youth with the help of a
> cleric at a mosque or madrassah," says a police investigator.
> Bomber dropouts
> Hasan, the recruiter of suicide bombers, has an eighth-grade
> education. Mohammad Jamil, one of the two suicide bombers behind the
> Christmas attack on Mr. Musharraf, was a dropout who studied at a
> madrassah in Pakistan's Frontier Province. Neither Mohammad Ali
> Khatri nor Akbar Niazi, two suicide bombers who killed 40 worshipers
> at two Shiite mosques last year, completed high school.
> Recent interrogations have shed light on how bombers are recruited
> and groomed. A police investigator quoted a detained sectarian
> militant, identified as Tehseen, as saying, "We isolate the boy who
> is willing to sacrifice his life. From then onwards he does not have
> any contact with his family or friends. We provide him religious
> books, and he prays all the time before [his] mission."
> Police nabbed Tehseen after he was injured at the scene of an attack
> on a Shiite mosque in Karachi this month. He was accompanying the
> suicide bomber as a guard.
> "In some cases, the suicide bomber gets terrified after reaching the
> target and flees. [The leaders] sometimes take the family hostage if
> the suicide bomber changes his mind," the police investigator says.
> The suicide-bomber cells operate in small groups of five to seven
> people, never staying at one place for more than two nights, says a
> police investigator.
> Moving in small cells is now a necessity for members of the larger
> splinter groups, which have been thrown into disarray by a persistent
> government crackdown, officials say. They add that the isolation of
> splinter groups, as well as their greater dependence on outside
> funding, may explain the adoption of the radical tactic of suicide
> bombing.
> "They are on the run, and short of resources. But it is the most
> dangerous tactic and rather impossible to stop like elsewhere in the
> world," says Karachi police chief Tariq Jameel. "We have to create
> awareness and counter them by eliminating extremism from the society,
> which is the best antidote to terrorism. Otherwise suicide bombings
> can give these disarrayed splinter groups a new life."
> Last month, a group of 58 religious scholars issued a fatwa, or
> religious edict, saying that Islam strictly forbids suicide attacks
> on Muslims. Further, those committing such acts at public
> congregations or places of worship cease to be Muslims.
> "Killing of any non-Muslim citizen or foreigner visiting the country
> is also forbidden in Islam since they are under protection of
> government of Pakistan," said Mufti Munib-ur Rehman, one of those
> issuing the edict.
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