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How Al Qaeda lit the Bali fuse: Part two

Religious-teaching sessions that included films of Christian-Muslim conflict in Indonesia energized young men to join in jihad.

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The images from the hand-held camera jiggle as they zero in on a column of irregulars shouldering homemade rifles and dressed in T-shirts and sandals. They're marching off to wage jihad against Christians, according to the caption on the screen.

As they file past the low terra-cotta roofs and whitewashed walls of Siri Sori village and into the surrounding banana and coconut groves, the camera focuses on a smiling man in a black T-shirt. As he turns and waves, a new caption identifies him as "the martyr Abu Dzar" - killed in action against Christians on Oct. 23, 2000.

Abu Dzar was the nom de guerre of Haris Fadillah, leader of the Laskar Mujahidin, a militia group that cranked up the violence in the Muslim-Christian war that erupted in Indonesia's Maluku provinces in 1999 and inspired a generation of Indonesian militants.

Mr. Fadillah was also the father-in-law of Omar al-Faruq, a key go- between for Indonesian militants and Al Qaeda who is being held without charges by the US. Mr. Faruq, Fadillah, and dozens of others used the violence in Maluku as the raw material to recruit many of Indonesia's militants through a carefully honed propaganda campaign. Their efforts culminated in the terror attack that killed 202 people in Bali last October.

Video compact discs and tape-recorded sermons have been essential tools for spreading Al Qaeda's ideology, going back to the resistance of Afghan and other Muslim fighters to the Soviet occupation in the 1980s. Osama bin Laden got his start aiding those fighters - sometimes with CIA assistance - and videos were used both to enlist fighters and raise funds.

The half-hour Fadillah film pulls back the veil on just how effective a propaganda war fought with homemade footage and arresting images can be in energizing militants who might otherwise set their sights close to home.


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