Libmonster ID: SE-297
Author(s) of the publication: N. PETROV

TELLS THE BOOK, WHICH IS BASED ON PUBLICATIONS IN OUR MAGAZINE

Having picked up the book of Candidate of Economic Sciences M. N. Gusev - " The Islamic factor in South-East Asia. The role of external forces" (published by the Institute of the Middle East, Moscow, 2007), subscribers of the magazine "Asia and Africa Today" will definitely experience a vague feeling: they have already read something similar somewhere... That's right, you read it. In our magazine. Over the past three or four years, the author of the book has published about a dozen articles on the same topic on its pages: the gradual advance of radical Islamism in the countries of Southeast Asia (SE).

Having combined these materials and supplemented them (the volume of the book is about 10 times larger than the total volume of M. N. Gusev's publications in the journal), the scientist prepared an interesting work on an important topic. That's really true: the chicken bites on the grain... By the way, M. N. Gusev's magazine articles invariably aroused great and friendly interest among our readers.

This interest is not accidental. It stems directly from the fact that today Southeast Asia is becoming a center of aggressive, fanatical Islamic extremism and terrorism. And not to notice it, not to react to it, means risking the peaceful life and peace of many people, including those living far from Southeast Asia.

The author considers the emergence and formation of this center in dynamics. It all started in the early 90s of the last century and even earlier. Few people then paid attention to the fact that young people from Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines suddenly experienced a "desire to change places" and hundreds began to go first to Pakistan, and then to Egypt, Syria and Iran, seemingly to study in religious schools.

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schools. And then yesterday's "students" were found in Afghanistan, Chechnya, as well as in different places of the world where terrorist acts were committed, there were military operations against the legitimate authorities. But even those who came back were not like the green youths who left their homeland a few years ago. Almost all of them became active propagandists and organizers of the process of radicalization of the Muslim movement; many led militant groups that aimed to create Islamist "centers of power", and in the future - to transform the entire Southeast Asia into a powerful caliphate capable of influencing politics throughout the region, and in the future-on the entire Asian subcontinent. This process is discussed in detail and analyzed in the first chapter of the paper - "Involving Southeast Asia in the orbit of global Islamism".

At the words " Southeast Asian Caliphate "(or "New Asian Caliphate"), many European and American experts say with a smile that they cannot take it seriously. However, it is not individual religious fanatics who now dream of a caliphate in Southeast Asia, but millions of people "propagandized" by them. There are maps that show the future caliphate includes Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei, Singapore, the southern Philippines, Thailand, and Myanmar. These boundaries were defined by Jama'a Islamiyah, an organization as sinister as al-Qaeda. Even the methods used by them are very similar. M. N. Gusev covers in detail the activities of "Jama'a Islamiya" from the appearance of this organization to the present day.

Let us recall that the events of September 11, 2001 were perceived in the world as something unexpected and sudden. Islamic terrorists and the same "Al-Qaeda" appeared in full view of everyone literally like "the devil out of a snuffbox". But in fact, their roots go back to a relatively distant past. We do not have many works in which the history of modern Islamist ideas and organizations that profess them can be traced "from Adam", from the moment of their origin. M. N. Gusev's book is one of such works. It convincingly shows that the idea of creating a caliphate in Southeast Asia originated in the region, in particular, in Indonesia, back in the 40s of the last century, even before the country's independence was declared. Since then, Islamism has won back its right to exist step by step, and the government under its pressure has made more and more concessions.

Radicalization of Muslim organizations in Southeast Asia accelerated markedly after the victory of the Islamic Revolution in Iran in 1979.Millions of East Asian Muslims saw the Iranian events as a role model, and the authorities had to make significant efforts to prevent local variants of Iranian events. By the way, Iran is also trying to strengthen its influence in the region, as evidenced by the visits of Iranian leaders at various levels to the Southeast Asian countries.

What is new in M. N. Gusev's book for readers who regularly follow events in Southeast Asia? First of all, we note a large number of little-known or half-forgotten facts related to the topic of the work cited by the author. In particular, it describes in detail how the process of selecting the most fanatical militants in terrorist groups goes, and when reading these pages, as they say, goosebumps begin to run, because it is extremely difficult to resist perfectly trained bandits.

The sections devoted to the latest methods of work of Islamic terrorists are interesting. Such, for example, as the use of "suicide ships" (they have already been used in practice) and mini-submarines (such are still being designed). The author pays great attention to financing the activities of Islamists, and claims that this is one of their biggest secrets. However, many of these secrets M. N. Gusev managed to reveal. There are a lot of ways to get money for propaganda and terrorist activities-from creating pseudo-benevolent organizations to smuggling, robberies, and fraud. The paper provides examples of Islamic radicals ' activities in each of these areas.

The book under review is valuable for a huge amount of information on issues that are still, unfortunately, on the periphery of the interests of specialists studying radical Islam. They mainly study the situation in the countries of the Middle East region; it is believed that this is where the main terrorist danger comes from. The author claims that the processes taking place in the Islamic community of Southeast Asian countries are also extremely disturbing, and they should not be overlooked by anyone who studies international terrorism and fights it.

"Islam in Southeast Asia," says the author, " is increasingly becoming a weapon in the struggle for power. There is an unprecedented politicization of it to the detriment of its true purpose: political involvement in religion causes deep wounds to its spirituality."

This should be kept in mind not only for Southeast Asian Muslims, but also for Muslims in general. Any religion that becomes excessively politicized risks losing its right to be a moral reference point of society. There is a lot of evidence for this in M. N. Gusev's book " The Islamic Factor in South-East Asia. The role of external forces".


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N. PETROV, ABOUT THE NEW CENTER OF WORLD ISLAMISM // Stockholm: Swedish Digital Library (LIBRARY.SE). Updated: 12.07.2023. URL: https://library.se/m/articles/view/ABOUT-THE-NEW-CENTER-OF-WORLD-ISLAMISM (date of access: 17.04.2024).

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