Captain Jihad: a Comic From an Ex-Al-Qaeda Instructor For Indonesian Kids

Heh, this is actually pretty cool.  This guy, Nasir Abas, was an Afghani freedom fighter in the late ’80s, fighting against the Soviet forces that had invaded about a decade earlier.  He discovered he had a knack for weapons, explosives, and combat.  Being a young guy then (he’s 42 now) he didn’t really stop fighting and was drawn into the radical pan-nationalist Islamic group, the Jemaah Islamiyah, (Islamic Congregation) whose goals were to bring together a unified Southeast Asian Islamic caliphate.  That’s not the cool part, we’re getting to the cool part.

He trudged along for the next ten or so years until 1998, when Osama Bin Laden issued his infamous fatwa for militarized Islamic organizations to target not just anti-Islam groups and invading foreign forces, but specifically American people, both military and civilian.  At this point, Nasir Abas and Jemaah Islamiyah parted ways.  Abas saw himself as a liberator, not a murderer, and had no beef with the U.S.

“[Abas also] believed Islam only condoned the killing of ‘enemies’ when there was a clearly defined battleground and a direct threat.”

Unfortunately, he was good at his job.  He was more than just a crack shot, he trained scores of JI members and did it well.  In 2000 a wave of bombings struck Indonesia, killing hundreds, and again in 2002, JI bombings started up again, with one single attack that killed 202 innocent people.  The intelligence community came down on JI hard by 2003 and snatched up a host of key players, including Abas, even though he hadn’t been involved with them for years.  He did know the guys pretty well, so…

He did what pretty much anyone would do if they knew people who had murdered hundreds.  He helped the police catch ’em.  With Abas, to-date, the Indonesian people have carted up 680 militant Islamic extremists.  He also heads up an outreach program for incarcerated terrorists to pull them back from their violent fundamentalism, to teach them that murders in the name of faith are wrong.

But for Abas, it wasn’t enough to stop there.  “This is my jihad now.”  He wrote a comic book.

“‘I want children to learn from my experience,’ Abas said of the colorful 137-page comic ‘I Found the Meaning of Jihad,’ which appears in bookstores Friday and will be handed out at some schools and libraries.

“‘I don’t want them to make the same mistakes.'”

Right now it’s got a print run of 10,000 copies, but we bet he’ll wind up printing more.  Indonesia has the world’s largest Muslim population, so it’ll get around.  It’s also probably a lot cooler than any of the inspirational comics or cartoons we got here in the States.  Captain Planet, anyone?

That is how you teach kids not to litter

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