Abdul Aziz is a case in point. The 34-year-old was co-opted into a jihadist cell by an acquaintance who asked him during an Islamic teaching forum if he would be interested in designing a website about the struggle for jihad.
The group’s commander was Noordin M. Top, the mastermind behind the 2002 bombing on the resort island of Bali. Aziz said he did not know about Noordin’s connection to the project, nor did he know a plan was in the works to set off another Bali bomb. But shortly after a blast rocked the island, killing 26 people, Aziz was sentenced to eight years in jail for giving sanctuary to Noordin.
Aziz still believes in jihad, which he defines as the struggle to defend Islam. But he does not agree with Noordin’s methods because there will always be “missed targets,” he said, referring to the term for innocents killed as a consequence of striving for jihad.