Sunday, August 19, 2007

Abu Sayyaf: What do They Really Want?

A group of Philippine terrorists called Abu Sayyaf is under attack by Philippine troops. Another "Muslim rebel group engaged in peace talks with the government, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front [MILF], admitted its rebels killed 14 marines during the clash in Al-Barka, accusing them of encroaching into a rebel stronghold," according to the Associated Press. The MILF said it didn't behead 10 of the 14 marines.

There are a couple of interesting points in recent news from the Philippines.

Beheading is a fairly common form of execution in Saudi Arabia, the heart of the Islamic world. Saudi clerics say this is okay, since the victims are criminals, but that Islamic groups beheading people for the publicity value aren't doing the Muslim thing.

It looks like terrorist groups are listening. The MILF denial that it was responsible for beheadings seems to indicate that beheading is no longer on the cutting edge of terrorist techniques.

Another point of interest is a video that hasn't been distributed yet.

Abu Sayyaf is distributing a sixty-two-minute video on the Internet, according to SITE, an American-based group of terrorist-watchers. According to SITE, an Abu Sayyaf spokesman gives an eloquent statement of the Islamic organization.

"The mission of the group is patterned after al-Qaeda and other Salafist movements, seeking the creation of a pan-Islam state, and as stated by Abdul Raziq Janjalani, 'Our only goal is to try to establish an Islamic state. We understand that establishing a Muslim State is not limited to Mindanao… We do not have any choice but to start with Mindanao. If we succeed, we will move to Visayas, then to Besoon, Allah willing, until we reach al-Quds [Jerusalem].'" (The Search For International Terrorist Entities (SITE)

It's not not likely that Abu Sayyaf will achieve their goal. They most likely have only a few hundred troops, with the number reduced after recent attacks by Philippine forces.

The importance of this video, assuming that the SITE report is accurate, is that it gives a very clear picture of what Abu Sayyaf, and quite likely other al Qaeda-related groups have as a goal: to establish an Islamic state from Mindanao (or wherever the group in question is) to Jerusalem.

If they succeed, the rest of us had better get used to calling that city "al-Quds." And making sure that we're sufficiently Islamic to keep our heads.

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.