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Sons Of JI Organizer Held In Yemen
By Tom Allard
November 1, 2006
Abdul Rahim Ayub.
Friends … Abu Bakar Bashir, left, visited Abdul Rahim Ayub while he was in Australia.
TWO of the Australian men arrested in Yemen on terrorism charges are the sons of Abdul Rahim Ayub, the man who set up a Jemaah Islamiah cell in Australia and fled after the Bali bombings.
The mother of the two brothers is Australian-born Rabiah Hutchison, who is regarded by security agencies as possibly more radical than her former husband.
Ms Hutchison is in Yemen with her sons, Mohammed Ayub and Abdullah Ayub, and it is understood that their tour group was joined by some of the wives of the men who were arrested on terrorism charges in Sydney one year ago.
Abdul Rahim Ayub and his twin brother, Abdul Rahman Ayub, were named by convicted Perth-based terrorist Jack Roche as the heads of JI in Australia.
Roche, the first person to be convicted in Australia under anti-terrorism laws, for plotting to blow up the Israeli embassy in Canberra, is serving a nine-year prison sentence.
The group, most of whom have been monitored intensely by ASIO for years, insist they went to Yemen to further their religious instruction.
The two brothers and a third man of Polish ancestry who became an Australian citizen in the 1980s and later converted to Islam were arrested in a CIA-led operation on October 17. They were accused of being part of an al- Qaeda cell and planning to smuggle light arms to Somalia.
Australian consular officials, who have flown in from the Saudi Arabian capital, Riyadh, were scheduled to meet with the men overnight.
The officials will also meet Yemeni authorities to talk about the circumstances behind the arrests, and what the formal charges are likely to be.
The Australians were arrested with five other men, including a Briton, a German and a Dane.
A Sydney lawyer, Adam Houda, who represents Mohammed and Abdullah Ayub and their mother, has described the allegations as ridiculous and has blamed Australia for alerting Yemeni authorities to their visit.
It is believed the trip was led by Ms Hutchison.
Like many young Australians, she first traveled to Indonesia looking for good times and is said to have been a "dope-smoking hippie".
According to Sally Neighbor’s book In the Shadow of Swords, Ms Hutchison grew up in Mudgee and married in Bali and had a child, but the relationship broke down and she became a strict Muslim, fond of wearing the burqa.
She gravitated towards Jemaah Islamiah's founder, Abdullah Sungkar, and it was at one of his religious classes that she met Abdul Rahim Ayub, the man who later came to Australia to head "mantiqi 4", an arm of JI.
A Jemaah Islamiah expert, Greg Fealy, from the Australian National University, said "strategic" marriages were a feature of Jemaah Islamiah.
"Many marriages are to serve the interests of the organization," he said. "That includes helping get citizenship."
The marriage dissolved, but not before they had two sons here, giving the boys Australian citizenship. They regularly hosted Jemaah Islamiah's current spiritual leader, Abu Bakar Bashir.
The fact they had two sons has never been publicly disclosed.
"She was worse than her husband was," a security source said yesterday. "She wanted to fight jihad herself."
Indeed, there are suggestions that the split related to Ms Hutchison's more radical Islamic views.
Abdul Rahim Ayub married an Indonesian woman but stayed in Australia until he was permitted to leave the country just days after the Bali bombings, which killed 202 people, including 88 Australians.
It is believed that ASIO knew he was leaving the country.
Ms Hutchison and her sons have moved "erratically" around the country, and made several trips back to Indonesia, according to security sources.
Mr. Houda could not be reached for comment late yesterday but earlier told the ABC that any links between his clients and the Ayubs were "all innocent".
Source: The Age