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Indonesia and Terrorism!

Interesting Article: "Study shows how young radical Indonesian Muslims become terrorists" by Mathyas Hariyadi / Indonesia published Wednesday, February 1st, 2012


An interesting article mentioned that the Setara Institute has just released the results of a field research study in Yogyakarta and Central Java conducted in mid-January. It found that a number of radical Muslim activists in Central Java cities have become Jihadists. For the institute, this means that many radical Muslim groups are acting as “incubators” for actual terrorists in Indonesia. The institute’s field research followed a shocking suicide bomb attack against a police station in Cirebon, West Java, in April 2011, which claimed the life of the attacker, Syarif, as well as a bomb attack against a Protestant church in Surakarta in Central Java in September 2011. The church attacker, Ahmad Yosepa Halyat, aka Ahmad Abu Daud, aka Raharjo, aka Hayat, was also killed in the incident. Want to know more?


According to the study by the Setara Institute, the reason for this shocking shift from activism to terrorism is a profound hatred for those who are not Muslims (for example, Christians) and for Indonesian security forces. Before the fateful attack against the police in Cirebon and the Protestant church, many young Muslim radicals carried out raids against nightclubs and pornography. A strong hostility towards those who in their views were responsible for wrongdoing against Islam motivates attacks against the police and members of other religious confessions. Strong anti-Americanism is another feature. Without quick and radical change in the country, the study said, these radical youth organisations will not hesitate from using force in violent actions to reach their political goals, including imposing the Sharia. Their constant efforts at recruiting new members are also worrisome. According to the Setara Institute, high school students and unemployed youth are their most “vulnerable” targets.

In the past five years, the number of new recruits has in fact jumped considerably, 52 per cent of survey respondents said. Anti-pornography campaigns are the best moments to recruit the most vulnerable. In January, International Crisis Group mentioned that involvement in violent campaigns against vice and religious deviance has become one pathway to terrorism in Indonesia. Indonesia: From Vigilantism to Terrorism in Cirebon, the latest briefing from the International Crisis Group, examines the radicalisation of a group from Cirebon, West Java that was behind the 2011 suicide bombings of a mosque and a church. It argues that ideological and tactical lines within the radical community are blurring, making it harder to distinguish “terrorists” from hardline activists and religious vigilantes. “The Cirebon men moved from using sticks and stones in the name of upholding morality and curbing ‘deviance’ to using bombs and guns, and this may become the common pattern”, says Sidney Jones, Crisis Group Senior Adviser.

Poorly educated and underemployed, the Cirebon men represent a generational shift from the jihadists trained abroad or those who fought a decade ago in two major communal conflicts in Ambon and Poso. They were radicalised through attending public lectures by radical clerics; most had taken part as well in attacks on stores selling liquor and anti-Ahmadiyah activities. They had been members of Jemaah Ansharut Tauhid (JAT), an extremist organisation founded by well-known cleric Abu Bakar Ba’asyir in 2008, but then left to form their even more militant group.

The briefing notes that the merging of vigilantes and jihadists has been facilitated by the proliferation of Islamist civil society organisations and the popularity of public taklim (religious lectures), as forums for spreading radical views. The government needs a strategy, consistent with democratic values, to counter clerics who use no violence themselves but preach that it is permissible to shed the blood of infidels (kafir) or tyrants (thaghut), frequently meaning Indonesian officials and, especially, the police. The problem is that there is no agreement within the country’s political elite on the nature of the threat.

If the radicalisation of groups like the Cirebon men is to be halted, the government needs to build a national consensus on what constitutes extremism; directly confront hate speech; and promote zero tolerance of religiously-inspired crimes, however minor, including in the course of anti-vice campaigns.

Where do these vulnerable youth undergo brainwashing? In various places, the Setara Institute found, including places of worship, where potential targets are met by mentors who plant jihadist ideas in their minds.

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References:
http://www.eurasiareview.com/27012012-indonesia-vigilantism-pathway-to-terrorism-in-cirebon/

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