Allah's Torch: A Report from Behind the Scenes in Asia's War on Terror

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9780060560904: Allah's Torch: A Report from Behind the Scenes in Asia's War on Terror

Indonesia, Southeast Asia -- the next front in the war on terrorism maybe the most difficult ... and explosive.

Long before September 11, 2001, terrorism's global elite was already zeroing in on Indonesia -- the world's most populous Islamic nation, and its largest archipelago, where dense jungles and intricate, unpatrolled coastlines conceal almost endless hiding places. Acclaimed journalist and filmmaker Tracy Dahlby takes us into this dangerous terrain, both before and after 9/11, interweaving the divergent perspectives of Koran-thumping preachers, hardened holy warriors, military commandos, and embattled Muslim moderates, in a first-rate reporting adventure that sheds new light on the epidemic chaos now threatening our international community.

By turns harrowing, thought-provoking, and humorous, Allah's Torch charts a fascinating course through a sprawling land unknown to most Americans where the home-bred Jemaah Islamiyah, Asia's answer to Al Qaeda, pursues its deadly ambition of pressing all of Southeast Asia under the yoke of a pure Islamic super-state.

With the trained observer's eye for detail and veteran newsman's sense of the story hiddenbehind the headlines, Dahlby gives readers a highly personal tour of the militant Jakarta slums, terrorist-traumatized Bali, and the Islamic heartland on the island of Java, where the outcome of a struggle now raging between moderate Muslims and their extremist brethren for the country's Islamic soul promises to have far-reaching effects on the lives of ordinary Americans. In so doing, Dahlby maps out the chilling realities of what radical Islam has planned for us as our worlds inevitably collide -- and offers some surprising conclusions about how America's leaders -- and its citizens -- can best defend our country against Asia's new Osama bin Ladens.

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About the Author:

Tracy Dahlby lived for thirteen years in Asia, where he served as Tokyo bureau chief for Newsweek and the Washington Post, and covered events throughout the region. He has written on Asia for National Geographic magazine, and is the winner of major awards for print journalism and documentary filmmaking.

From Publishers Weekly:

Vast, vital and incredibly diverse economically, socially, ethnically and religiously, the Republic of Indonesia has been hit hard by successive dictatorships, the East Asian recession and religious militants. Dahlby, former Newsweek and Washington Post bureau chief, begins his journalistic account of his pre- and post-9/11 travels there with a study of religious conflict in the Moluccas in 1999. A reluctant interisland passenger along with several hundred Islamic jihadis, he meets a Moluccan elder statesman and his savvy daughter. On a later trip, he finds the country suffering from the aftereffects of 9/11 and American pressure to deal with what is inaccurately perceived as a monolithic jihadist movement—Indonesia's Islam, and its militant factions, are no more monolithic than any other aspect of the country. While he gives short history lessons (on Indonesia's Dutch colonial period, for instance) and cuts to larger current political debates during his journeys, Dahlby stays closer to his own feelings and the logistics of his trips than many readers will want: his style is sometimes positively chatty; he draws on his own politics freely in interpreting his experiences. Yet the writing has a strong visual quality and vividly drawn players given the desperate shortage of popular material on Indonesia, this title helps fill the information gap.
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