Monday, April 30, 2007

Bob Woolmer Murdered For Offending Muslims?

Pakistan's cricket coach Bob Woolmer may have been murdered after angering radical Muslims, according to a BBC investigation.

The Panorama TV show suggests some players followed the extremist Muslim movement, Tablighi Jamaat.

The claims come as preliminary toxicology tests confirm Woolmer was rendered helpless with a powerful poison before being strangled.

According to the team's former media manager, PJ Mir, Woolmer shared his view that members of the squad were more interested in praying than playing.

Mr Mir claims it was this pre-occupation with religion that explained their poor World Cup result.

"Bob had his reservations that the boys, rather than focusing on the religious aspect, they ought to be focusing more on cricket.

"He wasn't particularly pleased when players were going out to say their prayers in the middle of the game and a substitute was coming in. He was totally against it," he said.

After the team was knocked out, Mr Mir's comments led to a fatwa being issued against him forcing him to flee Pakistan.

He believes Woolmer may have faced the same fate.

"If Bob had said what I'd had said, I think there would have been a fatwa on him as well," Mr Mir said.
Other competing theories included point shaving and related criminal activities that Woolmer knew about and was preparing to expose, putting the team and various players in jeopardy.

When investigators first began looking into his death, they believed he died from asphyxiation. Now, it appears that poisoning played a role.

HT: Israellycool.

Details relating to his funeral in South Africa are being kept private.

This report mixes the gambling and Islamist theories together, via a bookie who appears to have links with al al Qaeda.

CCTV shows Woolmer with two men shortly before his death. This story also notes the possible fatwa and that some players were involved in a group known as 'Tablighi Jamat'. Wiki calls this a Muslim missionary movement that supposedly works within the Muslim community. It has a relatively low profile despite its size, but there are concerns that it is another group committed to jihad:
The West's misreading of Tablighi Jamaat actions and motives has serious implications for the war on terrorism. Tablighi Jamaat has always adopted an extreme interpretation of Sunni Islam, but in the past two decades, it has radicalized to the point where it is now a driving force of Islamic extremism and a major recruiting agency for terrorist causes worldwide. For a majority of young Muslim extremists, joining Tablighi Jamaat is the first step on the road to extremism. Perhaps 80 percent of the Islamist extremists in France come from Tablighi ranks, prompting French intelligence officers to call Tablighi Jamaat the "antechamber of fundamentalism."[12] U.S. counterterrorism officials are increasingly adopting the same attitude. "We have a significant presence of Tablighi Jamaat in the United States," the deputy chief of the FBI's international terrorism section said in 2003, "and we have found that Al-Qaeda used them for recruiting now and in the past."[13]

Recruitment methods for young jihadists are almost identical. After joining Tablighi Jamaat groups at a local mosque or Islamic center and doing a few local dawa (proselytism) missions, Tablighi officials invite star recruits to the Tablighi center in Raiwind, Pakistan, for four months of additional missionary training. Representatives of terrorist organizations approach the students at the Raiwind center and invite them to undertake military training.[14] Most agree to do so.

Tablighi Jamaat has long been directly involved in the sponsorship of terrorist groups. Pakistani and Indian observers believe, for instance, that Tablighi Jamaat was instrumental in founding Harakat ul-Mujahideen. Founded at Raiwind in 1980, almost all of the Harakat ul-Mujahideen's original members were Tablighis. Famous for the December 1998 hijacking of an Air India passenger jet and the May 8, 2002 murder of a busload of French engineers in Karachi, Harakat members make no secret of their ties. "The two organizations together make up a truly international network of genuine jihadi Muslims," one senior Harakat ul-Mujahideen official said.[15] More than 6,000 Tablighis have trained in Harakat ul-Mujahideen camps. Many fought in Afghanistan in the 1980s and readily joined Al-Qaeda after the Taliban defeated Afghanistan's anti-Soviet mujahideen.[16]

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