Posts made in May, 2018

Jemaah Islamiyah: Genesis of a Domestic Terrorist Group

Posted by on May 28, 2018 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Jemaah Islamiyah: Genesis of a Domestic Terrorist Group

Most Indonesian Muslim militant groups could trace their lineage, or at least had a connection to Kartosuwirjo’s original Darul Islam movement in West Java. Darul Islam has had broad influence due to its single-minded, populist agenda to create an Islamic State. Ali Moertopo’s intelligence men infiltrated and manipulated the militant group in the late-1960s and early-1970s. In spite of – perhaps because of – that manipulation, Darul Islam rose from the ashes of its presumed destruction and was reborn in new forms, always with the supreme goal to create an Islamic State. Conservative clerics Abdullah Achmad bin Sungkar and Abu Bakar Ba’asyir had sworn allegiance to Darul Islam in 1976 while in Central Java, nine years before their self-proclaimed hijirah to Malaysia. Although inherently anti-western, the Darul Islam network had little interest in terror attacks against western targets. Sungkar and Ba’asyir started their own radical movement in Central Java after the national trauma in 1965-1966. The two men were about thirty years old. They had belonged to the Indonesian Muslim Youth Movement (Gerakan Pemuda Islam Indonesia, GPII) and were intensely involved in proselytizing activities (dakwah). Funded through private donations, in 1967 they opened a non-profit radio station in Surakarta, Radio Dakwah Islamiyah Surakarta, broadcasting religious music and commentary on Islamic themes. By 1971, they had opened their own boarding school (pesantren), al-Mukmin (Arabic for “The Faithful”), on Surakarta’s southern outskirts, moving a year later to Ngruki, a village two kilometers east of the city. Their boarding school administered a syllabus of strict discipline and radical indoctrination, including lessons in Arabic and English. Sungkar and Ba’asyir were among an estimated five million Indonesians of Arabic, primarily Yemeni ancestry. Arab seafaring traders and missionaries began arriving in the archipelago during the fourteenth-century, spreading their religion and culture along with their wares. The largest concentrations are in Central and East Java, and in South Sulawesi. Just as some were involved with the Communist Party and leftist groups during the Sukarno era, today Indonesians with Arab blood lead many of the militant organizations that blossomed after Soeharto’s fall from power. With Middle Eastern funding, Indonesian pesantren send hundreds of youth to study Islam in Yemen each year and invite Yemeni clerics to teach in Indonesia, perpetuating the links between Yemen and domestic militants. [1] Closely aligned with the outlawed Egyptian Islamic Brotherhood, Sungkar and Ba’asyir’s religious philosophy called for a return to pure Islamic teachings and harshly criticized the moral laxity inherent in western secularism. [2] Founded in 1928 amid a backlash to colonialism, the Islamic Brotherhood was a clandestine organization that sought to establish an Egyptian Islamic State. Members provided social services to the Muslim community while engaging in assassinations and bombing attacks against opponents. The organization and its militant philosophy spread throughout the Islamic world. Today the Brotherhood functions as a legitimate political party in many countries, including Egypt. It is closely identified with Iran’s revolutionary Islamic government, providing financial and moral support to regional militant groups like Hamas and Hezbollah. The two clerics were outspokenly critical toward Soeharto and his New Order government. In a typical anti-government tirade, Ba’asyir declared,...

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