The Bali jihadist now on a peace mission

From the BBC:

In fact Abbas, a weapons expert with close links to the regional Islamic militant organisation Jemaah Islamiah, was on his way to visit a group of old colleagues – militants serving time for a range of terrorism offences.

“These are my friends, my students,” he said. “I trained some of them… I’ve visited almost all jails where there are detainees in terrorist cases.”

But Abbas was not here to plot new attacks. Instead he had come to try to persuade his friends to follow his example and renounce violence.

“We should not kill civilians,” he said. “Today I realise some of my friends are misguided. My mission is to open their minds.”

For five years now, Abbas has been quietly co-operating with the Indonesian police as part of a remarkable “deradicalisation” campaign focused on the country’s jails.

For a good look at Islam in Indonesia, I recommend Civil Islam.  Also, one of my profs recently published Women Shaping Islam:  Reading the Qur’an in Indonesia.  While I haven’t read it yet, I assume it’s excellent.  Nelly did a lot after 9/11 to reach out to the Muslim community and worked to build bridges between christian (and non christian) students and their muslim neighbors.  She organized a visit to a local masjid a few weeks afterwards, held roundtable discussions with non muslim and muslim students, and put on a Christian-Muslim interfaith conference the following spring.

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