Noordin's father-in-law shows little concern

By Syed Umar Ariff and Jassmine Shadiqe

JOHOR BARU: "My son-in-law is more of a problem than anything else."

This was the response from Rusdi Hamid, the father-in-law of Asia's most wanted terrorist Noordin Mohammad Top.

"Even if he is dead, it would not leave an impact on the family. After all, he left us for eight years without saying a word," said Rusdi.

"My duty now is to look after my daughter and her three children. Whatever happens to Noordin, I leave it to God."

Noordin Mohammad Top’s fatherin- law Rusdi Hamid reading an article about the terrorist.
Noordin Mohammad Top’s fatherin- law Rusdi Hamid reading an article about the terrorist.

In an interview with the New Straits Times yesterday, Rusdi seemed indifferent when asked about his son-in-law.

"Whatever happens, happens. We have left his fate to Allah," he said at his home in Kampung Sungai Tiram yesterday.

Noordin was once the respected principal of a religious school in the village.

Rusdi, 67, said he was pleased when Noordin asked for permission to marry his daughter.

"He was known to be religious and was well-respected in the village."

However, things soured in 2001 when Noordin packed up and left the village, leaving his wife without any money to fend for herself or their three young children. Noordin has a 10-year-old son and two daughters aged 9 and 8.

Rusdi said he had no problems looking after his daughter and her three children. He supplies food to restaurants operating in Sungai Tiram in the wee hours of the morning and sells dates.

Rusdi was reluctant to talk about his daughter. He would only say that she taught the Quran to children in the village.

"She is around... and she works to help me sustain the family," he said softly.

He said the children do not understand what had happened to their father.

"When he left them, they were still babies. I don't think they even remember him."

Nowadays, Rusdi said, all the information that they got about Noordin was from the police, neighbours or, at times, the media.

Noordin turned 41 yesterday, but Rusdi has long forgotten his son-in-law's date of birth.

"The whole world is looking for him, I don't think I will ever see him again. I don't even know what to say to him if I did," he added.


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