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'A Sinner in Mecca' Documents Gay Muslim Pilgrimage

Penulis : Nurdin Hasan on Monday, August 31, 2015 | Monday, August 31, 2015

Monday, August 31, 2015

Parvez Sharma

NEW YORK (TAG) – The confession of a Pakistani murderer. Overzealous religious police. An Arab angered his pregnant wife was molested in the holiest site known to Islam.
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After a decade of peace, many Aceh ex-rebels left behind

Penulis : Nurdin Hasan on Thursday, August 13, 2015 | Thursday, August 13, 2015

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Banda Aceh (TAG) - Fakhruddin Kasem (35) hoped for a prosperous new life when Indonesia struck a deal to end a separatist conflict in Aceh, but a decade on the unemployed former rebel is so desperate he hopes to join the Islamic State group to make ends meet.

While many ex-fighters have benefited from peace in the western Indonesian province, with ex-rebels now Aceh’s key political players, former local commander Kasem is among a number that feel let down.

“As a rebel fighter, I feel betrayed by the leadership as they have not taken care of me,” said the 350 year-old who also known as "Din Robot", one of about 100 ex-rebels who pledged last month to join IS in Syria as they claim being salaried jihadists is the only way they can support their families.

Up to 500 nationals from Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country, are believed to have travelled to the Middle East to join IS, sparking fears they could revive sophisticated militant networks responsible for attacks on Western targets on their return.

It is not clear whether the ex-rebels will really join the fight in Syria and Iraq, but the threat highlights how the transition to civilian life for many Free Aceh Movement (GAM) rebels has not always been smooth.

In 1976, GAM launched its fight for an independent Islamic state in Aceh, which is fiercely proud of its identity and was historically an important trading centre and seat of Muslim learning.

Over the next 29 years, fighting between rebels and Indonesian government forces left about 15,000 people dead — with abuses committed by both sides — before the 2004 tsunami finally persuaded GAM and Jakarta to strike a peace deal.

The destructive, quake-triggered waves left around 170,000 dead in Indonesia, the vast majority in Aceh, and tens of thousands more in countries around the Indian Ocean.

The deal was signed on August 15, 2005, in the Finnish capital Helsinki, with the rebels agreeing to give up their demands for independence in exchange for greater autonomy.

The GAM fighters laid down their arms and Jakarta withdrew non-local security forces from Aceh and granted an amnesty to rebels and political prisoners.

A transitional reintegration package from the International Organization for Migration was provided to 2,000 prisoners who were granted amnesties and 3,000 former combatants, while ex-rebels have been brought into local politics and now lead the province.

‘Many challenges’

Despite sporadic violence, often between new local political parties set up as part of the peace deal, the accord has largely been viewed as a success, Aceh is mostly peaceful, and the chances of a return to full-blown conflict are slim.

But observers say that while some former GAM members have prospered in oil- and gas-rich Aceh, others have got very little, and those now in positions of power stand accused of being more interested in improving their own lot than helping ordinary Acehnese.

“The whole question of reintegration has been a problem from the start,” said Keith Loveard, a senior risk analyst at Concord Consulting in Jakarta. “Some got involved and some were left out.”

He pointed to high levels of crime in some parts of Aceh, which in many cases is suspected to involve former fighters, as evidence of failure.

One former rebel, Nurdin bin Ismail Amat aka Din Minimi, is leading an armed group that is suspected of being behind the kidnapping of a British energy worker in 2013 and the killing last year of two military intelligence officers.

He told AFP that he had decided to keep up the armed struggle as “we see the people of Aceh and former combatants have not prospered”.

More broadly, critics say that governance in the province over the past decade has been ineffective, pointing to problems in the education system, rising infant mortality rates and growing drug problems.

The end of conflict also led to a dramatic increase in Islamic regulations in Aceh, the only province in Indonesia allowed to implement sharia law, with public canings common for crimes such as gambling and drinking alcohol.

In addition, not all elements of the peace deal have been implemented. In a 2013 report, Amnesty International noted promises to set up a human rights court and a truth and reconciliation commission had not been honoured, leaving many who suffered without a sense of closure.

Aceh governor Zaini Abdullah, himself a former rebel who used to be a key figure in the independence movement’s government in exile, this week hailed “10 years of peace”, but admitted problems remain.

“There are still many challenges,” he told reporters.[]

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Din Minimi Denies Hand in Killings of Two Soldiers

Penulis : Nurdin Hasan on Saturday, April 18, 2015 | Saturday, April 18, 2015

Saturday, April 18, 2015

BANDA ACEH, TAG – Indonesian forces are scouring some parts of Aceh areas to find followers of Din Minimi, a former guerrilla who has taken up arms again to protest what he says is economic injustice in the province.
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Haunted 70 Years on, Determined to Remember

Penulis : Nurdin Hasan on Sunday, April 12, 2015 | Sunday, April 12, 2015

Sunday, April 12, 2015

HIROSHIMA, Japan (Reuters) - Hiroshi Harada remembers how his leg sank into one of the bodies blocking a narrow Hiroshima street 70 years ago, as he fled the spreading fire ignited by the atomic bomb.
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American Woman with 8 Husbands Denies Fraud Charges

NEW YORK (Reuters) – An American woman from New York City accused of being married to eight men at the same time pleaded not guilty in state court in the Bronx to two counts of felony fraud that prosecutors say stemmed from a scheme to gain U.S. citizenship for grooms from countries "red flagged" by the Department of Homeland Security.
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200 Years After Tambora Volcanic Blast


BANDA ACEH, TAG – Two hundred years after the biggest volcanic blast in recorded history, scientists have ranked that the countries most at risk of a deadly volcanic eruption.
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Gunmen kidnap, kill two soldiers in Aceh

Penulis : Nurdin Hasan on Tuesday, March 24, 2015 | Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

BANDA ACEH, TAG – Two Indonesian intelligence officers were found shot dead Tuesday, a day after being kidnapped by gunmen in the former separatist rebel heartland of Aceh province in the country's west, a military spokesman said.
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Political Power Struggles in Aceh

Penulis : Nurdin Hasan on Sunday, February 8, 2015 | Sunday, February 08, 2015

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Jakarta, TAG - Rifts within the top ranks of the Free Aceh Movement (Gerakan Aceh Merdeka, GAM) suggest that a transfer of power to a younger generation is underway, a report said, Sunday (February 8, 2015).
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Kisah Bocah Papan Hanyut

Penulis : Nurdin Hasan on Wednesday, December 31, 2014 | Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

INI kisah satu keluarga korban tsunami Aceh. Pasangan ini tak pernah kehilangan harapan kalau dua anak mereka, yang hilang saat gelombang laut menerjang daratan, masih hidup. Harapan mereka akhirnya terwujud menjelang peringatan 10 tahun tsunami. Keajaiban pun datang. Bukan hanya sekali, tapi dua keajaiban.
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“Every Day is Sanger Day”

Penulis : Nurdin Hasan on Wednesday, October 15, 2014 | Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Banda Aceh (TAG) – Sekitar seratus orang memenuhi kursi bagian belakang sebuah warung kopi pinggiran ibukota Banda Aceh. Sebagian besar mereka berusia di bawah 30 tahun. Di meja, berjejer gelas-gelas mini berisi minuman warna coklat muda, yang siap diseruput.
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Miracles of Aceh Tsunami Family

Penulis : Nurdin Hasan on Tuesday, September 2, 2014 | Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

By Nurdin Hasan [Rappler.com]
Banda Aceh, TAG – The devastating 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami may have forced them apart, but familial bonds appear to remain strong in an Acehnese family celebrating a miraculous reunion with their children almost 10 years after the disaster.
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