Monday, October 03, 2005

Extremism in Paradise: Southeast Asia's Jemaah Islamiyah

With ties to al-Qaeda, Southeast Asia's pan-Islamic extremist organization Jemaah Islamiyah is alleged to have carried out a series of brutal terrorist attacks against Western-oriented targets throughout the region. The latest was the October 1 attack in Bali, Indonesia, which killed at least 22 people, including the three suicide bombers, and injured over 100. Indonesian security forces are currently investigating who carried out the attacks.

The group is also believed to have been behind the October 12, 2002 attack on a Bali nightclub that killed 202 people and devastated regional tourism. Jemaah Islamiyah has also carried out an October 2003 attack in Jakarta, Indonesia and a September 2004 attack in the same city against the embassy of Australia.

For more information on Jemaah Islamiyah, see:
http://cfrterrorism.org/groups/jemaah.html

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/2333085.stm

For more information on the Bali terrorist attacks and Muslim extremism in Southeast Asia, see:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/in_depth/asia_pacific/2002/bali/

http://www.cnn.com/2005/WORLD/asiapcf/10/03/bali.blasts/index.html

Although Jemaah Islamiyah's operations remain largely unknown by the world's intelligence services, it is believed that the group wants to establish an Islamic state across Southeast Asia, a state that will include Indonesia, Malaysia, southern Thailand, and the southern Philipines. The organization's alleged spiritual leader is Abu Bakr Bashir (left), 66, an imam from central Java, Indonesia. Bashir is known to be an active supporter of groups that desire to turn all of Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim country, into an Islamic state. He has denied that he supports terrorism or is a leader of Jemaah Islamiyah.

For a profile of Abu Bakir Bashir, see:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/2339693.stm