Lao's Muslims Eye Burma
Published on Sep 4, 2012 by Luke Hunt
Just over a decade ago the tiny Islamic population of Laos, like Muslims everywhere, watched on in horror as al-Qaeda carried out its suicide attacks on New York and Washington. They were then flabbergasted as a tide of Western opinion turned on them. Luke Hunt reports from Vientiane.As time passed the imams of Vientiane’s two mosques thought those days had been consigned to history, particularly in Southeast Asia, where al-Qaeda affiliates were dealt with and mostly dismantled.But now both men are again looking on in horror at the treatment of Muslims, this time right next door in Myanmar, where close to 80 people have died in unrest between religions set off by the rape and murder in June of a....
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Spectrum BP: Thailand's Troubled South
Published on Aug 16, 2012 by Luke Hunt
The recent surge of violence in the South has spurred the government to once again review its strategy of how to deal with violence in the strife-torn area.After a meeting between Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and 17 ministries and more than 60 agencies last week what emerged was a new southern command structure headed by Deputy PM Yutthasak Sasiprapa.But critics said the restructure is merely window dressing to give the appearance of civilian authority over an area traditionally controlled under the military.Read more in Spectrum in The Bangkok Post..
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Malaysia’s Militant Headache
Published on Dec 4, 2011 by Luke Hunt
Tawau is a quiet little place – and possibly the remotest city in Malaysia. Tucked away near the Indonesian border in the state of Sabah, it’s well known in diplomatic circles as a Malaysian transit hub between Indonesia and the Southern Philippines.It’s also a favorite stop over for pirates, smugglers, mercenaries, illegal workers and the Darul Islam movement, whose roots can be traced back to Indonesia’s independence almost 65 years ago. Since then, Darul Islam has spawned a litany of Muslim militant groups like Jemaah Islamiyah (JI).Most who pass through continue on, but some stay to stock-up on supplies, reload and plan for another day as authorities found out when 13 suspected terrorists were arrested in Tawau last month under....
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A Cambodian Cham Offensive
Published on Jul 29, 2004 by Luke Hunt
Backed by overseas wealth, conservative forms of Islam are taking rapid root among impoverished Cham Muslims. Some now fear Cambodia could be used as a hideout for terrorists. by Luke Hunt in Phum Trea and Phnom Penh, filed the following dispatch for the Far Eastern Economic Review.In the village of Phum Trea, Imam Mohamad Abdul Majit is proudly showing off his community’s latest addition. A mosque built in brilliant white marble, twice the size of the holiest mosque in Phnom Penh. Next door is a new madrassa, or Islamic school with three floors and at least 15 classrooms.The gleaming mosque isn’t the only thing distinguishes Phum Trea from most other villages in this predominantly Buddhist nation. On a relentlessly hot....
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