Former Islamic Militant Preaches Peace In Indonesian Graphic Novel
Nasir Abas, a 42-year-old former al-Qaida-linked militant from Malaysia has adapted his life story into a cautionary tale about pursuing Muslim extremism in a new 137-page graphic novel Kutemukan Makna Jihad, which translates to "I Found the Meaning of Jihad" in English. According to The Associated Press, Abas has gone from helping train terrorists involved in the 2002 Bali bombings and other attacks in Southeast Asia, to becoming a police informant and current anti-terrorism advocate in Indonesia. The graphic novel reportedly has a print run of 10,000 with many copies being circulated in the nation's schools and libraries.Kutemukan Makna Jihad tells the story of Abas' journey from Islamic boarding school student to a fighter in Afghanistan in the '80s to a prominent figure in Jemaah Islamiyah and now an educator. Abas began to reexamine his affiliations in the late '90s when factions of JI began considering non military targets a part of their war to gain an Islamic state in Southeast Asia, which ran counter to his beliefs.
Though Abas was not directly involved in the attacks, men he helped train while in JI killed more than 200 people in Bali nightclubs in 2002, leading to a crackdown that saw him captured and interrogated in 2003. Convinced that Abas was against the attack, Indonesian authorities convinced the former JI member to give them information about the group and its activities without using any torture or intimidation tactics he'd anticipated.
Though defecting has gained him extremist enemies, Abas continues to work to teach that the Quran does not condone terrorism. "I want children to learn from my experience," Abas told the AP, "I don't want them to make the same mistakes."
[Via The AP]