Source: Sydney Morning Herald
By : Philip Eliason 24\08\2010
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Just before the start of Ramadan, the spiritual leader of Indonesia's Jemaah Islamiah (JI), Abu Bakar Bashir, was jailed again in Indonesia for allegedly supporting and sponsoring terrorist activity.
For Australia and its neighbours such as the Philippines, JI and its spin-off groups remain a danger, just as JI remains a danger to Indonesian authorities, Indonesian Christians, foreign businesses and tourists as well as to ordinary Indonesians who nearly universally harbour a deep rejection of terrorism.
Bashir is an Indonesian of Yemeni heritage. From his family origins in the religious Hadramout region of Yemen where he would be called Ba 'Ashar, to Indonesia he reflects the continuing channel of Yemeni-based religious thought into Indonesia.
Bashir's counterpart in Yemen, Abdul Majid al-Zindani holds great following and draws support from extremists to the extent that the US has listed him as a terrorist and asked Yemen to arrest him. Both have substantial oratorical skills and can issue influential messages to the public about the use of violence.
Rather than its historically tolerant Sufi doctrine, religious trends in the Hadramout have changed to be more Wahhabi, increasingly conservative and unabiding of other schools of thought.
It sometimes is hostile to Western culture, our moral perspectives and our political doctrines such as the importance of democratic forms of debate.