Noordin Top: Martyr or Murderer?

by Chris Lundry Jemaah Islamiyah terrorist Noordin M. Top, who was responsible for multiple bombings in Indonesia and who is thought to have played a role in the 2002 Bali Bombings, is back in the news. He was killed almost three years ago in Central Java by Densus 88, the Indonesian anti-terrorism police force. He had risen to the top of Jemaah Islamiyah, and had announced the formation of a new branch, Tandzim al Qo’idah […] Read more »

A Different Take on the ICG Indonesia Report

by Mark Woodward This ICG report recently reviewed by Chris Lundry is another example of that organization doing what it does best, providing detailed information about the activities of extremist groups linked to Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) in some way. But in my view the degree to which JI poses a threat to Indonesia has always been overestimated and there are more important developments in the country related to extremism and terrorism. The Indonesian security forces […] Read more »

Another Bombing in Indonesia, Another Struggle over Framing

by Chris Lundry On Sunday, September 25, a lone suicide bomber detonated a bomb at a Protestant Church in Surakarta (Solo), Central Java, as services were letting out. Along with the bomber, one congregant was killed and several wounded from the shrapnel composed of nails, bolts and buckshot. In the ensuing week there has been a struggle over how the event should be framed, with most Islamist groups denying responsibility. The bomber has been identified […] Read more »

“Firebrand” Extinguished? Abu Bakar Basyir Sentenced to 15 Years

by Chris Lundry The next chapter in the saga of Abu Bakar Basyir, called the spiritual leader of terrorist organization Jemaah Islamiyah, came to an end on June 16. The court in South Jakarta pronounced its verdict of guilty to the charges of inciting terrorism related to the Jemaah Islamiyah training camp in Aceh — which was broken up amidst arrests and killings of militants in February 2010 — and sentenced the cleric to 15 […] Read more »

Tainted Legacies: to the Victor go the (Narrative) Spoils?

By Chris Lundry The first 48 hours after the death of Osama bin Laden were grounds for relief in the United States, its allies, and those who condemn violent extremism, but they have also been fraught with speculation and rumors concerning the operation. Is bin Laden really dead? Did he really use his wife as a shield? Was he really armed and did he fire at the Navy Seals? Why have there been no pictures […] Read more »

Escalating Muslim Reaction to Terrorist Bombings in Indonesia

by Mark Woodward* Since March 15 Indonesia has experienced another wave of bombings, including a suicide attack on the Az Zikro mosque located in a police compound in Cirebon, Central Java. The bomber struck during Friday prayers. Other targets have included a book bomb mailed to Ulil Abshar Abdallah, the leader of Jaringan Islam Liberal (The Liberal Islamic Network), the offices of Densus 88, an elite anti-terrorism unit, a natural gas pipeline and Christian churches […] Read more »

News from Indonesia: Basyir charged with supporting Aceh terrorist camp

by Chris Lundry Indonesian police have charged Indonesian cleric Abu Bakar Basyir with supporting terrorism for his role in the the Jemaah Islamiyah training camp in Aceh. He has been accused of participating in planning and funding the project and ordering others to commit terrorist acts, and police reported finding progress reports and videos from the camp. The training camp, led by Javanese who came to Aceh thinking they would find support, was broken up […] Read more »

Update from Indonesia and Singapore

by Chris Lundry While in Singapore for the ICA conference with colleagues from the CSC, interesting news kept coming in from Indonesia concerning its ongoing fight against terrorism. It was quite a contrast to what appeared to be the biggest story in Singapore: the conviction of a foreigner who spray-painted a train, a story that took up several pages of coverage and included a detailed step-by-step illustration recreating the crime. Such news seemed to drown […] Read more »

Lessons from Aceh Terrorist De-Radicalization

by Mark Woodward, Ali Amin & Inayah Rohmaniyah Although the International Crisis Group’s reports on radicalism in Indonesia are extremely detailed and well informed, their recommendations tend to be short-term solutions aimed at preventing terrorist acts in the near term. This report argues the value of a longer term approach to both prevent radicalization as well as to rehabilitate jihadis who have been identified and arrested. Although the ―soft‖ approach to imprisoning arrested jihadis is […] Read more »

Recent arrests in Indonesia

by Chris Lundry Indonesian police have continued to make arrests of those with suspected ties to terrorism, including 14 people in the last week. Remarkably, many of those arrested have direct ties to firebrand cleric Abu Bakar Basyir and the organization he founded in 2008, Jemaah Anshoru Tauhid (JAT, the Supporters of Monotheism). According to the Jakarta Post, Basyir, who has been imprisoned twice in Indonesia, issued a statement stating that he is ready to be  questioned […] Read more »