Monday, November 13, 2006

Australia: The queen of jihad

That's how The Australian describes Muslim convert Rabiyah Hutchison, whose two sons are being held in Yemen on terrorism charges.

During a two-year stay in Afghanistan in 2000 and 2001, Hutchison was married to a member of Osama bin Laden's inner circle, Mustafa Hamid, also known as Abu al Walid al-Masri.

Hamid was a leading al-Qa'ida ideologue and a member of its central governing council, the Majlis al-Shura.

This wasn't her first marriage to a Muslim extremist, though.

He became Hutchison's third husband after the Sydney woman travelled to Afghanistan in the late 1990s, following her divorce from Abdul Rahim Ayub, leader of the Australian branch of the Indonesian terrorist group, Jemaah Islamiah.

Ms Hutchison crops us in quite a few news stories in The Australian.

There's this one about Willie Brigitte, suspected of planning a jihadist bomb attack in Sydney.

Mr Brigitte's wife, Melanie Brown, a former Australian soldier, is believed to be a friend of Rabiyah Hutchison, a fellow convert to radical Islam.

Then she pops up again here.

THEY were once carefree, freckle-faced Australian girls: one from country NSW, the other from a Melbourne family of bohemians.

Islam brought them together as friends, a religion they adopted to give meaning to their lives. Now, 20 years on, it is Islamic terror that has driven them apart.

"She really changed," says Ibtisam Abbas about her former friend. "She had a humanity, an openness and she made friends easily, but she has no feelings for anyone any more. It is like being a perfect Muslim is the only thing that matters to her."

She is talking about Rabiyah Hutchison, the woman who has emerged as the queen of the Australian jihad (holy war) movement and a central figure in an international network of Australian accused extremists and terrorists.

And again.

ISLAMIC cleric Mohammed Omran is the spiritual leader of a national network of accused terrorists and extremists and should be held accountable for his activities, according to one of his former followers.

He admitted that Ms Hutchison was a close friend of his late wife and had nursed her as she was dying of cancer, but said he was not her formal sheik or religious instructor.

Later, in Perth, Sheik Omran forged friendships with the Ayub brothers, Abdul Rahman and Abdul Rahim, who set up JI's Australian base. Abdul Rahim is Ms Hutchison second husband, and the father of Mohammed and Abdullah.

And another. This time it's her former brother-in-law who gives Hutchison a broadside.

ABDUL Rahman Ayub is a worried man, but he is adamant he has left his terrorist past behind.

The Indonesian preacher, who along with twin brother Abdul Rahim Ayub headed the Australian chapter of regional terror network Jemaah Islamiah, says he has long renounced the radical teachings of former mentor Abu Bakar Bashir.

The pair have also washed their hands of Abdul Rahim's sons, Mohammad and Abdullah Ayub, who were arrested in Yemen last month on terrorism charges.

And they accuse Abdul Rahim's former wife, Australian woman Rabiyah Hutchison, of turning two "sweet, cute boys" into hardliners eager to create a Muslim caliphate by any means.

I wonder why her name keeps cropping up in all these articles related to Islamic extremism? Coincidence, perhaps?

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