Overview

As Known As:

Executive Summary:

Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) is a jihadist group in Southeast Asia that seeks to establish a caliphate in the region through violent means. The group is led by its co-founder, Abu Bakar Bashir, who pledged loyalty to ISIS in July 2014. JI first raised its global profile after carrying out bombings in Bali in 2002 and 2005, killing 202 and 20 people (mostly foreign tourists), respectively.“Timeline: Attacks and plots blamed on Jemaah Islamiah in Asia,” Reuters, September 17, 2009, http://www.reuters.com/article/2009/09/17/us-indonesia-militants-timeline-sb-idUSTRE58G29X20090917; Paul Toohey, “Paradise for terrorists: 36 Bali bombers that killed 92 Australians are walking free,” Daily Telegraph (Sydney), May 4, 2014, http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/nsw/paradise-for-terrorists-36-bali-bombers-that-killed-92-australians-are-walking-free/story-fni0cx12-1226904341271. Among other violent operations, JI is known for its links to the 1993 World Trade Center bombing as well as the 1995 failed “Bojinka” plot, an attempt to bomb 12 U.S. commercial airlines in the span of two days.National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States, Thomas H. Kean, and Lee Hamilton. 2004. The 9/11 Commission report: final report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States. (Washington, D.C.): National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States, http://govinfo.library.unt.edu/911/report/911Report_Ch5.pdf. JI has links to al-Qaeda and the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG), a Philippines-based terrorist organization.Yanina Goldburt, “An In-Depth Look at the Jemaah Islamiyah Network,” al Nakhlah (Fall 2004), http://fletcher.tufts.edu/Al-Nakhlah/Archives/~/media/Fletcher/Microsites/al%20Nakhlah/archives/pdfs/golburt.ashx.

Analyst J.M. Berger has stated that JI is defunct.J.M. Berger, “The Islamic State vs. al Qaeda: Who’s winning the war to become the jihadi superpower?” Foreign Policy, September 2, 2014, http://foreignpolicy.com/2014/09/02/the-islamic-state-vs-al-qaeda/. Nevertheless, the group remains a threat given its extensive network and ties to both ISIS and the Nusra Front. Australian authorities in particular have expressed concern about JI foreign fighters returning to the region. This danger is exacerbated by Indonesia’s relatively lax immigration laws, which allow Indonesian citizens to travel in and out of conflict zones. Consequently, Indonesian jihadists who have fought in Iraq and Syria do not face the threat of criminal charges upon returning home.Michael Edwards, “Islamic State jihadists returning from Iraq sparks rejuvenated terror threat from Indonesia, experts warn,” Australian Broadcasting Corporation News, March 11, 2015, http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-03-11/expert-warns-of-rejuvenated-terror-threat-in-indonesia-because-/6297700.

Numerous reports indicate a resurgent threat from JI.Daniel Flitton, “Special envoy calls as Australians join Syria fight,” Sydney Morning Herald, March 30, 2015, http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/special-envoy-call-as-australians-join-syria-fight-20140330-35s42.html; Michael Edwards, “Islamic State jihadists returning from Iraq sparks rejuvenated terror threat from Indonesia, experts warn,” Australian Broadcasting Corporation News, March 11, 2015, http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-03-11/expert-warns-of-rejuvenated-terror-threat-in-indonesia-because-/6297700; Sarah Dean, David Martosko et al, “‘Truly sickening and utterly evil’: Tony Abbott warns of Aussie beheadings as it’s revealed Indonesian terrorists Jemaah Islamiyah has sided with ISIS killers who beheaded James Foley,” Daily Mail (London), August 20, 2014, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2730480/PM-Tony-Abbott-warns-Australians-new-threats-Indonesian-terror-group-Jemaah-Islamiyah-calls-James-Foleys-beheading-truly-sickening.html. Indonesian authorities fear militant and radicalized Indonesian-citizen jihadists returning home after training with JI.Sri Lestari, “Does Islamic State ideology threaten Indonesia,” BBC News, August 11, 2014, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-28700983. Analyst Sidney Jones claims that “We’re all concerned that with probably close to 200 fighters or supporting personnel in Syria and Iraq from Indonesia that we could see a real boost to the terrorist movement if they return.”Michael Edwards, “Islamic State jihadists returning from Iraq sparks rejuvenated terror threat from Indonesia, experts warn,” Australian Broadcasting Corporation News, March 11, 2015, http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-03-11/expert-warns-of-rejuvenated-terror-threat-in-indonesia-because-/6297700. Terrorism analyst Taufik Andrie has stated that returning Indonesian foreign fighters could also aggravate tensions between Indonesia’s Sunni majority and Shiite minority.“Indonesians joining rebels in Syria, Iraq,” Manila Times, June 20, 2012, http://www.manilatimes.net/indonesians-joining-rebels-in-syria-iraq/105529/.

Doctrine:

JI aims to establish an Islamic state (Daulah Islamiyah Nusantara) in Southeast Asia. Initially, the state would encompass Malaysia, Indonesia, and Mindanao (southern Philippines), and later absorb southern Thailand, Singapore, and Brunei.“The Jemaah Islamiyah Arrests and the Threat of Terrorism,” Ministry of Home Affairs, Republic of Singapore, January 2003, http://www.mha.gov.sg/Newsroom/speeches/Documents/English.pdf.

JI’s history indicates that the group pursues a three-phase strategy of violent jihad to establish a caliphate. The first phase of jihad targets local government. The second targets regional governments through a conflagration of attacks in countries such as Singapore and Philippines. The third phase is global jihad. This latter phase developed as a result of association with al-Qaeda, which seeks a global jihad, as opposed to JI’s initial localized jihad.“Jemaah Islamiyah Remains Active and Deadly,” The World’s Most Threatening Terrorist Networks and Criminal Gangs, eds. Barry R. Schneider, Jerrold M. Post et al (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009), 187-189.

When Indonesia declared independence from the Netherlands, Abu Bakar Bashir and Abdullah Sungkar founded JI to overthrow the secular Indonesian state through political disruption and violence.Majlis Qiyadah Markaziyah Al Jamā‘ah Al Islāmiyyah, PUPJI: General Guidelines for the Struggle of Al Jamā‘ah Al Islāmiyah (n.p.: Majlis Qiyadah Markaziyah Al Jamā‘ah Al Islāmiyyah, 1996), accessed May 4, 2015,https://archive.org/stream/Pupji-GeneralGuidelinesForTheStruggleOfJamaahIslamiyah/Pupji-englishRevision4#page/n0/mode/2up/. One of JI’s precursors was Darul Islam, an insurgent movement that gave rise to three separate revolts against the Indonesian government in the 1950s and 1960s.Sidney Jones, “Darul Islam’s Ongoing Appeal,” International Crisis Group, August 18, 2010, http://www.crisisgroup.org/en/regions/asia/south-east-asia/indonesia/op-eds/jones-darul-islams-ongoing-appeal.aspx. Both Bashir and Sungkar were involved in Darul Islam, which was too ideologically fractured to move forward as an organization. However, during this time, they became involved in subversive activities against President Suharto’s government. Sungkar and Bashir later left Indonesia to join the jihad in Afghanistan and then Pakistan. It is in these two countries where they associated with Afghanis who espoused extremist ideology and foreign fighters who had also sought to join jihad. It is during this period that they developed the ideological and operational underpinnings of JI.David Gordon and Samuel Lindo, “Jemaah Islamiyah,” Center for Strategic & International Studies, November 2011, http://csis.org/files/publication/111101_Gordon_JemaahIslamiyah_WEB.pdf.

JI’s ideological and tactical manual is titled General Guidelines of the Struggle of Al Jemā‘ah Al Islāmiyah (PUPJI).“The Jemaah Islamiyah Arrests and the Threat of Terrorism,” Ministry of Home Affairs, Republic of Singapore, January 2003, http://www.mha.gov.sg/Newsroom/speeches/Documents/English.pdf. PUPJI states that one of the group’s main objectives is to develop the resources and capabilities of its members and the organization as a whole, including by teaching skills like bomb-making and acting as a “networking” organization.Mohamed Bin Ali, “Identifying Key Concerns of Jemaah Islamiyah: The Singapore Context,” Social Resilience in Singapore: Reflections from the London Bombings, ed. Norman Vasu (Singapore: Select Books, 2007), 68-80.

JI’s doctrine is based on five founding principles: iman (belief), hijrah (emigration), i’dad (preparation to struggle in the way of God), jihad (struggle in the way of Allah), and al wala wal bara (division of the world into friends and enemies).Mohamed Bin Ali, “Identifying Key Concerns of Jemaah Islamiyah: The Singapore Context,” Social Resilience in Singapore: Reflections from the London Bombings, ed. Norman Vasu (Singapore: Select Books, 2007), 68-80. JI’s ideology is influenced by al-Qaeda’s political theology, including works like Abu Musab al-Suri’s “Call to Worldwide Islamic Resistance,” Abu Bakr Naji’s “The Management of Savagery,” and Sayyed Imam Al-Sharif’s “Rationalizing Jihad in Egypt and the World.”“Jemaah Islamiyah,” Mapping Militant Organizations, Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University, February 2012, http://web.stanford.edu/group/mappingmilitants/cgi-bin/groups/view/251.

Schisms within JI have formed over disagreements on what the group’s goals should be. One camp wanted to slowly progress into a caliphate through radical proselytizing and education, building an Islamic community, and increasing adherence to Islamic law. The other group advocated the use of violent jihad. The latter group, though smaller, was ultimately successful in setting JI’s goals. This more violent group was led by former JI military leader Riduan Isamuddin, a.k.a. Hambali, who encouraged a shift toward al-Qaeda–style tactics, resulting in a surge of attacks against Western assets in Indonesia in 2003.Majlis Qiyadah Markaziyah Al Jamā‘ah Al Islāmiyyah, PUPJI: General Guidelines for the Struggle of Al Jamā‘ah Al Islāmiyah (n.p.: Majlis Qiyadah Markaziyah Al Jamā‘ah Al Islāmiyyah, 1996), accessed May 4, 2015,https://archive.org/stream/Pupji-GeneralGuidelinesForTheStruggleOfJamaahIslamiyah/Pupji-englishRevision4#page/n0/mode/2up/. These attacks displayed JI’s tactical shift from targeting government and law enforcement to focusing on soft targets, such as tourist attractions, using car and suicide bombings.Majlis Qiyadah Markaziyah Al Jamā‘ah Al Islāmiyyah, PUPJI: General Guidelines for the Struggle of Al Jamā‘ah Al Islāmiyah (n.p.: Majlis Qiyadah Markaziyah Al Jamā‘ah Al Islāmiyyah, 1996), accessed May 4, 2015,https://archive.org/stream/Pupji-GeneralGuidelinesForTheStruggleOfJamaahIslamiyah/Pupji-englishRevision4#page/n0/mode/2up/.

Organizational Structure:

JI’s structure is outlined in the group’s ideological and tactical manual, General Guidelines of the Struggle of Al Jemā‘ah Al Islāmiyah (PUPJI). JI divides its areas of operation into regional units that serve different administrative and operational purposes, each of which is called a mantiqi. Each mantiqi is in turn divided into smaller districts, each of which is called a wakalah.

JI is headed by an emir (commander or prince), who appoints and presides over councils for governance, theology, fatwa (Islamic jurisprudence), and discipline.“Jemaah Islamiyah Remains Active and Deadly,” The World’s Most Threatening Terrorist Networks and Criminal Gangs, eds. Barry R. Schneider, Jerrold M. Post et al (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009), 193. The governing council includes a central command that makes policy and determines tactical and strategic operations. For instance, the central command approves plans for future offensives and controls the leaders of the four mantiqi and the heads of their respective wakalah.

Mantiqi I operates in Singapore and Malaysia and serve as JI’s source of financing for operations, i.e. to terror attacks and training. Mantiqi II covers Indonesia, the main area in which JI carries out terrorist activities such as launching attacks on government and law enforcement targets. Mantiqi III includes the Phillippine island of Mindanao, the Malaysian state of Sabah on the island of Borneo, and the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, where cells are responsible for training. Mantiqi IV, which includes Australia and the West Papua province of Indonesia, focuses on fundraising.James C. “Chris” Whitmire, “Jemaah Islamiyah Remains Active and Deadly,” The World’s Most Threatening Terrorist Networks and Criminal Gangs, eds. Barry R. Schneider, Jerrold M. Post et al (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009), 194.

In accordance with the PUPJI’s guidelines, from 2000 to 2001 JI was governed by a five-member Regional Advisory Council chaired by Riduan Isamuddin, a.k.a. Hambali. Before his arrest in 2003, Hambali supervised the mantiqi.“Bruce Vaughn, Emma Chanlett-Avery et al, “Terrorism in Southeast Asia,” Congressional Research Service, October 16, 2009, http://fas.org/sgp/crs/terror/RL34194.pdf.

Despite the hierarchy outlined in the PUPJI, JI is more decentralized in practice.“Bruce Vaughn, Emma Chanlett-Avery et al, “Terrorism in Southeast Asia,” Congressional Research Service, October 16, 2009, http://fas.org/sgp/crs/terror/RL34194.pdf. Regional leaders have developed a certain degree of autonomy and many cells are even completely isolated from one another.“Bruce Vaughn, Emma Chanlett-Avery et al, “Terrorism in Southeast Asia,” Congressional Research Service, October 16, 2009, http://fas.org/sgp/crs/terror/RL34194.pdf. This structure allows JI to remain active even when top leaders are arrested or killed. Small bands have been able to congregate in mountainous areas of Sulawesi, for example, where authorities fear they are trafficking weapons from neighboring countries.“Chapter 2. Country Reports: East Asia and Pacific Overview,” U.S. Department of State, April 30, 2014, www.state.gov/j/ct/rls/crt/2013/. At its peak, JI’s core membership consisted of between 500 and several thousand persons, with countless more given radical educations in the JI-run pesantrens.“Bruce Vaughn, Emma Chanlett-Avery et al, “Terrorism in Southeast Asia,” Congressional Research Service, October 16, 2009, http://fas.org/sgp/crs/terror/RL34194.pdf.

Financing:

JI fundraises through membership donations and criminal and business activities, according to the U.S. State Department.“Chapter 2. Country Reports: East Asia and Pacific Overview,” U.S. Department of State, April 30, 2014, www.state.gov/j/ct/rls/crt/2013/. The group has received financial, ideological, and logistical support from other groups in its network, such as al-Qaeda’s core and other Middle Eastern contacts.Yanina Goldburt, “An In-Depth Look at the Jemaah Islamiyah Network,” al Nakhlah (Fall 2004), http://fletcher.tufts.edu/Al-Nakhlah/Archives/~/media/Fletcher/Microsites/al%20Nakhlah/archives/pdfs/golburt.ashx. While some analysts believe al-Qaeda is JI’s main source of revenue, others note the group’s ability to exploit charities and divert resources away for terror operations.Yanina Goldburt, “An In-Depth Look at the Jemaah Islamiyah Network,” al Nakhlah (Fall 2004), http://fletcher.tufts.edu/Al-Nakhlah/Archives/~/media/Fletcher/Microsites/al%20Nakhlah/archives/pdfs/golburt.ashx.

Additional sources of money for JI include cash remittances from individuals of the Indonesian diaspora, profits from hawala (informal money-lender networks), weapons smuggling, and extortion.Yanina Goldburt, “An In-Depth Look at the Jemaah Islamiyah Network,” al Nakhlah (Fall 2004), http://fletcher.tufts.edu/Al-Nakhlah/Archives/~/media/Fletcher/Microsites/al%20Nakhlah/archives/pdfs/golburt.ashx. It is unclear how much money the group has in its coffers and how these funds are distributed to operatives. After around 2009, JI’s attacks have lacked the sophistication of previous JI attacks, leading analysts to believe that the group suffered from a lack of funding.“Jemaah Islamiyah (a.k.a. Jemaah Islamiah),” Council on Foreign Relations, June 19, 2009, http://www.cfr.org/indonesia/jemaah-islamiyah-k-jemaah-islamiah/p8948.

The group also appears to use charitable organizations as fronts for the organization. On September 4, 2014, the U.S. Department of the Treasury designated the Hilal Ahmar Society Indonesia (HASI) for sending multiple groups of JI terrorist fighters to Syria for providing funds, military training, and recruits to JI. HASI, ostensibly JI’s humanitarian wing, has been active as a non-governmental organization in Indonesia since 2011.“Treasury Designates Twelve Foreign Terrorist Fighter Facilitators,” U.S. Department of the Treasury, September 24, 2014, http://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/jl2651.aspx.

Recruitment:

JI relies largely on social outreach efforts to recruit new followers.Zachary Abuza, “Jemaah Islamiyah Adopts the Hezbollah Model,” Middle East Quarterly (Winter 2009), http://www.meforum.org/2044/jemaah-islamiyah-adopts-the-hezbollah-model. For example, JI provided relief to victims of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami in order to attract support for its cause.Jeff Lewis and Belinda Lewis, Bali’s Silent Crisis: Desire, Tragedy, and Transition, (Lanham: Lexington Books, 2009), https://books.google.com/books?id=l9OW7W-HgZUC&lpg=PR1&pg=PR4#v=onepage&q&f=false. While some JI recruits come from poorer backgrounds, many recruits are well-educated and attracted to “charismatic” preachers.Yanina Goldburt, “An In-Depth Look at the Jemaah Islamiyah Network,” al Nakhlah (Fall 2004), http://fletcher.tufts.edu/Al-Nakhlah/Archives/~/media/Fletcher/Microsites/al%20Nakhlah/archives/pdfs/golburt.ashx. In recent years, JI has attracted recruits from other Islamist groups in the region, including Indonesia-based Darul Islam, JI’s ideological predecessor.“JI recruiting from new sources,” Korea Herald (Seoul), April 6, 2010, http://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20050711000009.

JI also recruits members through its Islamic schools and the family networks created by marriages in the community. The Al Mukmin school in Ngruki, Indonesia, is part of a network of pesantren for children of JI members.Yanina Goldburt, “An In-Depth Look at the Jemaah Islamiyah Network,” al Nakhlah (Fall 2004), http://fletcher.tufts.edu/Al-Nakhlah/Archives/~/media/Fletcher/Microsites/al%20Nakhlah/archives/pdfs/golburt.ashx. The schools are meant to serve JI by perpetually replenishing the group’s ranks. According to Sidney Jones of the Jakarta-based Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict, only some 40 pesantren in the country are associated with terrorist activities, while others focus on creating “upstanding citizens.”Pallavi Aiyar, “In Indonesia, Madrassas of Moderation,” New York Times, February 10, 2015, http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/11/opinion/in-indonesia-madrassas-of-moderation.html.

Training:

During the 1980s, members of JI’s predecessor, Darul Islam, trained in Afghanistan.Carlos H. Conde, “Jemaah Islamiyah’s tie to rebels grows: Manila peace talks face a rising threat,” New York Times, July 14, 2004, http://www.nytimes.com/2004/07/14/news/14iht-rebels.html. Since the 1990s, JI training has continued in Pakistan with assistance from the Pakistani militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT).David Gordon and Samuel Lindo, “Jemaah Islamiyah,” Center for Strategic & International Studies, November 2011, http://csis.org/files/publication/111101_Gordon_JemaahIslamiyah_WEB.pdf. The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) helped with JI’s training in the Philippines using training camps in the southern island of Mindanao.The National Counterterrorism Center, “Jemaah Islamiyah (JI),” accessed March 31, 2015, http://www.nctc.gov/site/groups/ji.html. Training camp activities include indoctrination studies and weapons and explosives training.Yanina Goldburt, “An In-Depth Look at the Jemaah Islamiyah Network,” al Nakhlah (Fall 2004), http://fletcher.tufts.edu/Al-Nakhlah/Archives/~/media/Fletcher/Microsites/al%20Nakhlah/archives/pdfs/golburt.ashx.

Key Leaders

  • Abu Bakar Bashir

    Founder, Spiritual Leader, Alleged Operational Leader
  • Abdullah Sungkar

    Founder and former spiritual leader, deceased
  • Noordin Top | Jemaah Islamiyah

    Noordin Top

    Top recruiter, one of the masterminds behind the August 2003 attack on Marriott Hotel and September 2004 car bomb outside Australian Embassy in Jakarta, reportedly killed by Indonesian police in Java on September 17, 2009
  • Riduan Isamuddin (a.k.a Hambali) | Jemaah Islamiyah

    Riduan Isamuddin (a.k.a Hambali)

    Operational leader, head of regional shura, suspected al-Qaeda operations director for East Asia, now in extrajudicial detention at Guantanamo Bay
  • Mohamed Iqbal Abdurraham (a.k.a Abu Jibril) | Jemaah Islamiyah

    Mohamed Iqbal Abdurraham (a.k.a Abu Jibril)

    Primary recruiter and second-in-command, arrested in Malaysia
  • Zulkifli Abdhir, (a.k.a. Marwan) | Jemaah Islamiyah

    Zulkifli Abdhir (a.k.a. Marwan)

    Bomb maker and member of central command, confirmed dead February 5, 2015
  • Angga Dimas Pershada | Jemaah Islamiyah

    Angga Dimas Pershada

    JI operative and fundraiser
  • Bambang Sukirno | Jemaah Islamiyah

    Bambang Sukirno

    JI leader and fundraiser
  • Wiji Joko Santoso

    Head of JI’s foreign affairs division and head of JI operations in Syria

History

 

Violent Activities

JI has plotted and executed a range of terrorist operations, including the Bali bombings in 2002 and 2005 as well as a score of bombings in Indonesia and the Philippines. The group’s former leader, Riduan Isamuddin, a.k.a. Hambali, was also responsible for laundering the money to fund al-Qaeda terrorist plots, including the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, and the failed 1995 Bojinka plot, an attempt to bomb 12 U.S. commercial airlines in the span of two days.Aurel Croissant and Daniel Barlow, “Government Responses in Southeast Asia,” Terrorism Financing and State Responses: A Comparative Perspective (Stanford: Stanford UP), p. 212, http://www.sup.org/books/title/?id=10507. Crackdowns on JI have forced the group to operate underground and alongside local terror groups. In July 2014, JI leader Abu Bakar Bashir pledged allegiance to violent terrorist group ISIS while in prison.Rendi A. Witular, “Abu Bakar Ba’asyir calls on followers to support ISIL,” Jakarta Post, July 14, 2014, http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2014/07/14/abu-bakar-ba-asyir-calls-followers-support-isil.html.

  • February 26, 1993: A 1,200-lb bomb detonates in a rented van in the parking garage below the World Trade Center.“1993 World Trade Center Fast Facts,” CNN, February 13, 2015, http://www.cnn.com/2013/11/05/us/1993-world-trade-center-bombing-fast-facts/ The blast from the bomb kills six people and injures 1,000.Nikos Passas, “Terrorism Financing Mechanisms and Policy Dilemmas,” in Terrorism Financing and State Responses: A Comparative Perspective, eds. (Stanford: Stanford UP), p. 17, http://www.sup.org/books/title/?id=10507. The attack is financed by a Malaysia-based firm called Konsojaya Trading Company.Aurel Croissant and Daniel Barlow, “Government Responses in Southeast Asia,” Terrorism Financing and State Responses: A Comparative Perspective (Stanford: Stanford UP), p. 212, http://www.sup.org/books/title/?id=10507. This front company was founded by JI leader Riduan Isamuddin, a.k.a. Hambali, to launder terror-financing funds.Victor Comras, “Al Qaeda Finances,” in Terrorism Financing and State Responses: A Comparative Perspective (Stanford: Stanford UP), p. 124, http://www.sup.org/books/title/?id=10507.
  • 1995: Ramzi Yousef attempts to bomb 12 American airliners, part of what is known as the Bojinka plot, planned by Yousef and his partner Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM). The plot ultimately failed because of a chemical fire that Yousef started in his kitchen in Manila, attempting to create a liquid explosive device. The fire brings in the Philippine police, who in turn shared recovered files with the United States. The Bojinka plot was also financed by Hambali’s front company, Konsojaya Trading Company.Aurel Croissant and Daniel Barlow, “Government Responses in Southeast Asia,” Terrorism Financing and State Responses: A Comparative Perspective (Stanford: Stanford UP), p. 212, http://www.sup.org/books/title/?id=10507. According to the 9/11 Commission Report, it is with this plot that KSM conceived of using aircraft as weapons.National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States, Thomas H. Kean, and Lee Hamilton. 2004. The 9/11 Commission report: final report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States. (Washington, D.C.): National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States, http://govinfo.library.unt.edu/911/report/911Report_Ch5.pdf.
  • May 1998: Indonesian President Suharto resigns after 30 years in power. Bashir and Sungkar return to Indonesia, seizing an opportunity to establish a caliphate. JI militants launch a campaign of sectarian violence against Christians and Hindus.David Gordon and Samuel Lindo, “Jemaah Islamiyah,” Center for Strategic & International Studies, November 2011, http://csis.org/files/publication/111101_Gordon_JemaahIslamiyah_WEB.pdf.
  • 1999: JI forms a regional alliance called the Rabitatul Mujahidin to operationalize its objectives. The alliance includes the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in the Philippines, as well as an unnamed self-exiled group of Rohingyas based in Bangladesh, and an unnamed jihadist group from southern Thailand.Singapore Ministry of Home Affairs, “The Jemaah Islamiyah Arrests and the Threat of Terrorism,” Presented to the Parliament by Command of the President of the Republic of Singapore, January 2003, http://www.mha.gov.sg/Newsroom/speeches/Documents/English.pdf.
  • August 1, 2000: Rabitatul Mujahidin decides to attack Philippine interests in Indonesia in retaliation for the Philippine government’s crackdown on MILF. A bomb detonates outside the Philippine Ambassador’s home in Jakarta, killing two and injuring 20.Singapore Ministry of Home Affairs, “The Jemaah Islamiyah Arrests and the Threat of Terrorism,” Presented to the Parliament by Command of the President of the Republic of Singapore, January 2003, http://www.mha.gov.sg/Newsroom/speeches/Documents/English.pdf.
  • December 24, 2000: JI debuts its first major terrorist operation, simultaneously bombing 28 churches in the Indonesian cities of Jakarta, Sumatra, and Java, killing 19 and wounding more than 120. The Christmas Eve project was planned and coordinated by JI operational leader, Hambali.David Gordon and Samuel Lindo, “Jemaah Islamiyah,” Center for Strategic & International Studies, November 2011, http://csis.org/files/publication/111101_Gordon_JemaahIslamiyah_WEB.pdf.
  • December 30, 2000: JI bombs the Light Railways Train in Manila, Philippines, killing 22.Singapore Ministry of Home Affairs, “The Jemaah Islamiyah Arrests and the Threat of Terrorism,” Presented to the Parliament by Command of the President of the Republic of Singapore, January 7, 2003, http://www.mha.gov.sg/Newsroom/speeches/Documents/English.pdf. It occurs during Rizal Day, a national holiday commemorating the martyrdom of the nation’s hero, José Rizal. According to Philippines police investigation, JI member Fathur Rahman al-Ghozi was responsible for the bombing. He later confesses that the bombing assignment in the Philippines was funded by the JI.Singapore Ministry of Home Affairs, “The Jemaah Islamiyah Arrests and the Threat of Terrorism,” Presented to the Parliament by Command of the President of the Republic of Singapore, January 7, 2003, http://www.mha.gov.sg/Newsroom/speeches/Documents/English.pdf.
  • December 2001: The Singaporean intelligence authorities did not foresee a joint JI-al-Qaeda plot to target the U.S., British, and Israeli embassies. However, the plan is inadvertently thwarted when Singaporean authorities arrest key JI members, essentially incapacitating JI in Singapore.“Jemaah Islamiyah,” Mapping Militant Organizations, Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University, February 2012, http://web.stanford.edu/group/mappingmilitants/cgi-bin/groups/view/251.
  • October 12, 2002: JI bombs crowded nightclubs, Sari Club and Paddy’s, on the predominantly Hindu tourist island of Bali. The bombings kill 202 people, mostly foreigners from Western countries, including 88 Australians. As a direct result, the U.S. designates JI as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO).“Timeline: Attacks and plots blamed on Jemaah Islamiah in Asia,” Reuters, September 17, 2009, http://www.reuters.com/article/2009/09/17/us-indonesia-militants-timeline-sb-idUSTRE58G29X20090917.
  • March 4, 2003: JI bombs the airport in Davao, a southern port city in the Philippines, killing 22 and wounding 143. MILF denies involvement. Later, JI-linked Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) militants take responsibility for the attack.“Lives Destroyed: Attacks on Civilians in the Philippines,” Human Rights Watch, July 2007, http://www.hrw.org/reports/2007/philippines0707/background/2.htm.
  • May 10, 2003: A bomb detonates at the city market in Mindanao, Philippines, killing 10 and injuring 42. Philippine police later arrest several persons in connection with the bombing, including suspected JI members from Indonesia.“Lives Destroyed: Attacks on Civilians in the Philippines,” Human Rights Watch, July 2007, http://www.hrw.org/reports/2007/philippines0707/background/2.htm.
  • July 10, 2003: Two months after the May 10, 2003, bombing in a city market in Koronadal, Mindanao, a blast at the same market kills three and wounds 25. Authorities later arrest several persons in connection with the attacks, including suspected Indonesian JI members.“Lives Destroyed: Attacks on Civilians in the Philippines,” Human Rights Watch, July 2007, http://www.hrw.org/reports/2007/philippines0707/background/2.htm.
  • August 5, 2003: A bomb outside the JW Marriot Hotel in Jakarta, Indonesia, kills 12, including a Dutchman, and wounds 149. Though no one claimed responsibility, the attack bears the hallmark of JI and investigators said that JI at least funded the Bali bombers.Maria Ressa and Amy Chew, “Jakarta forensic team finds possible Bali link,” CNN, August 5, 2004, http://www.cnn.com/2003/WORLD/asiapcf/southeast/08/05/indonesia.blast/.
  • May 28, 2004: Twin bomb explosions kill 22 people in a market in Central Sulawesi, Indonesia. The attack exacerbates sectarian violence, reminiscent of similar attacks following the resignation of President Suharto in 1998.“Key attacks in Indonesia, history of Jemaah Islamiyah,” Asia One, July 17, 2009, http://news.asiaone.com/News/Latest+News/Asia/Story/A1Story20090717-155372.html.
  • September 9, 2004: A suicide car bomb explodes outside the Australian embassy in central Jakarta, Indonesia, killing 10 and wounding more than 100. Indonesian authorities later arrest and convict six members of JI in connection to the attack.“Timeline: Attacks and plots blamed on Jemaah Islamiah in Asia,” Reuters, September 17, 2009, http://www.reuters.com/article/2009/09/17/us-indonesia-militants-timeline-sb-idUSTRE58G29X20090917.
  • December 12, 2004: A bomb explodes in the main public market in Mindanao, Philippines, killing 15 and injuring 69. Several people are arrested in connection to the attack, including Indonesian JI members and a former MILF member.“Lives Destroyed: Attacks on Civilians in the Philippines,” Human Rights Watch, July 2007, http://www.hrw.org/reports/2007/philippines0707/background/2.htm.
  • October 2, 2005: Suicide bombers detonate three blasts on the island of Bali, Indonesia, killing 20, and wounding more than 100.“Timeline: Attacks and plots blamed on Jemaah Islamiah in Asia,” Reuters, September 17, 2009, http://www.reuters.com/article/2009/09/17/us-indonesia-militants-timeline-sb-idUSTRE58G29X20090917. The attack has a major effect on Indonesian public opinion, turning the public against JI. As a result, Indonesian politicians and authorities are able to take a hard line stance against militants without fear of alienating constituents.
  • July 17, 2009: JI detonates nearly simultaneous explosions at the Ritz-Carlton and JW Marriott hotels in Jakarta, killing nine people and injuring 41.“Timeline: Attacks and plots blamed on Jemaah Islamiah in Asia,” Reuters, September 17, 2009, http://www.reuters.com/article/2009/09/17/us-indonesia-militants-timeline-sb-idUSTRE58G29X20090917. The attacks stun the Indonesian government, whose crackdown on JI supposedly kept the country free of terror attacks since 2005.
  • February 2010: Indonesian authorities raid a training camp in Aceh, Indonesia, and arrest more than 120 JI suspects, as well as militants from other extremist groups. Aceh-trained militants allegedly intended to carry out attacks on foreigners and assassinate moderate Muslim leaders.Niniek Karmini, Stephen Wright et al, “Indonesia cleric gets 15 years in terror case,” USA Today, June 16, 2011, http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/world/2011-06-16-indonesia-cleric-prison-terror_n.htm.
  • August 21, 2014: Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott voices concern over JI’s support for ISIS. Approximately 100 Australian deaths are believed to be connected to JI activities in the country. Prime Minister Abbott fears JI’s alignment with ISIS movement could lead to increased terror activities in the region.Stephanie Balogh, “Jemaah Islamiah alignment to Islamic State a potential threat: Abbott,” Australian (Surry Hills), August 21, 2014, http://www.theaustralian.com.au/in-depth/middle-east-in-turmoil/jemaah-islamiah-alignment-to-islamic-state-a-potential-threat-abbott/story-fn7ycml4-1227031712670.
  • January 25, 2015: Four-hundred members of the Philippines’s counterterrorism police force conduct a raid in the village of Mamapasano. Forty-three police officers of the Special Action Force (SAF) are killed in the raid, making it the deadliest operation for the police force in over 10 years.Dan Murphy, “Philippines bloodbath: was one of last major Jemaah Islamiyah leaders killed? (+video),” Christian Science Monitor, January 27, 2015, http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Security-Watch/Backchannels/2015/0127/Philippines-bloodbath-was-one-of-last-major-Jemaah-Islamiyah-leaders-killed-video.

Designations

Designations by the U.S. Government:

October 23, 2002: The U.S. Department of State designates Jemaah Islamiyah as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on October 23, 2002.“Foreign Terrorist Organizations,” U.S. Department of State, accessed March 30, 2015, http://www.state.gov/j/ct/rls/other/des/123085.htm. January 24, 2003: The U.S. Department of State designates Nurjaman Riduan Isamuddin (a.k.a. Hambali) as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) on January 24, 2003.U.S. Designated Two as Terrorists Linked to Jemaah Islamiyah,” IIP Digital United States Embassy, January 24, 2003, http://iipdigital.usembassy.gov/st/english/texttrans/2003/01/[email protected]#axzz3GdW8jgk6.
The U.S. Department of State designates Mohammad Iqbal Abdurraham (a.k.a. Abu Jibril) as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) on January 24, 2003.U.S. Designated Two as Terrorists Linked to Jemaah Islamiyah,” IIP Digital United States Embassy, January 24, 2003, http://iipdigital.usembassy.gov/st/english/texttrans/2003/01/[email protected]#axzz3GdW8jgk6. April 13, 2006: The U.S. Department of State designates Abu Bakar Bashir as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) on April 13, 2006.“Recent OFAC Actions,” U.S. Department of the Treasury, April 13, 2006, http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/OFAC-Enforcement/Pages/20060413.aspx.
August 16, 2011: The U.S. Department of State designates Umar Patek as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) on August 16, 2011.“Treasury Sanctions Three Senior Members of the Jemaah Islamiya Terrorist Network,” U.S. Department of the Treasury, August 16, 2011, http://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/tg1276.aspx. August 16, 2011: The U.S. Department of State designates Muhammad Jibril Abdul Rahman as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) on August 16, 2011.“Treasury Sanctions Three Senior Members of the Jemaah Islamiya Terrorist Network,” U.S. Department of the Treasury, August 16, 2011, http://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/tg1276.aspx.
September 24, 2014: The U.S. Department of Treasury designates Hilal Ahmar Society Indonesia as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) on September 24, 2014.“Treasury Designates Twelve Foreign Terrorist Fighter Facilitators,” U.S. Department of the Treasury, September 24, 2014, http://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/jl2651.aspx.  

Designations by Foreign Governments and Organizations:

October 27, 2002: Australia designated Jemaah Islamiyah as a terrorist organization on October 27, 2002.“Jemaah Islamiyah (JI),” Australian National Security, October 19, 2014, http://www.nationalsecurity.gov.au/Listedterroristorganisations/Pages/JemaahIslamiyahJI.aspx. April 23, 2008: Indonesia designated Jemaah Islamiyah as an illegal organization on April 23, 2008.Mark Forbes, “Jakarta backs court’s decision to outlaw Jemaah Islamiah,” Sydney Morning Herald, April 23, 2008, http://www.smh.com.au/news/world/jakarta-backs-courts-decision-to-outlaw-jemaah-islamiah/2008/04/22/1208742940633.html.
November 2002: The United Kingdom designated Jemaah Islamiyah as a terrorist organization in November 2002.Proscribed Terrorist Organisations,” GOV.UK, August 20, 2014, https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/354891/ProscribedOrganisationsAug14.pdf. October 25, 2002: The United Nations Security Council Committee listed Jemaah Islamiyah as a terrorist organization linked to al-Qaeda or the Taliban on October 25, 2002.“The List established and maintained by the 1267/1989 Committee,” United Nations, last modified March 26, 2015, http://www.un.org/sc/committees/1267/1267.pdf.

Associations

Ties to Extremist Entities:

Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG)

ASG, an extremist Islamic insurgent group in the Philippines, has provided a special training camp for JI militants within its training camp in Southern Mindanao. JI members in turn have provided training in subjects such as bomb-making and weapons-handling. JI also served as a direct connection between ASG and al-Qaeda core. A key JI leader, Zulkifli Abdhir, a.k.a Marwan, was long harbored in the ASG-controlled region in the Philippines and continued to operate there.“Marwan alive has serious implications: Trillanes,” ABS-CBN News, August 7, 2014, http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/nation/08/07/14/marwan-alive-has-serious-implications-trillanes. Marwan was confirmed dead after a 12-hour bloody gunfight with Philippine police’s elite Special Action Force (SAF), during which 44 members of SAF were killed.Tim Hume, “Man killed in Philippines raid was wanted terror suspect Marwan, DNA indicates,” CNN, February 5, 2015, http://www.cnn.com/2015/02/05/world/philippines-marwan-dna-positive/. However, a Philippine intelligence chief has asserted that 10 to 12 JI members continue to reside among ASG in the southern Philippines.“Marwan alive has serious implications: Trillanes,” ABS-CBN News, August 7, 2014, http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/nation/08/07/14/marwan-alive-has-serious-implications-trillanes.
Al-Qaeda

JI’s experiences with al-Qaeda jihadists in Afghanistan significantly influenced its doctrine and also served to solidify a connection between JI and al-Qaeda core.David Gordon and Samuel Lindo, “Jemaah Islamiyah,” Center for Strategic & International Studies, November 2011, http://csis.org/files/publication/111101_Gordon_JemaahIslamiyah_WEB.pdf. Al-Qaeda core had initially provided a bulk of revenue to JI also, though JI members are able to raise their own funds. Some analysts believe the group is still financially connected.Yanina Goldburt, “An In-Depth Look at the Jemaah Islamiyah Network,” al Nakhlah (Fall 2004), http://fletcher.tufts.edu/Al-Nakhlah/Archives/~/media/Fletcher/Microsites/al%20Nakhlah/archives/pdfs/golburt.ashx. Some members of JI associate with al-Qaeda’s formal affiliate in Syria, the Nusra Front, and have joined the group there.Julie Chernov Hwang and Noor Huda Ismail, “There and Back Again: Indonesian Fighters in Syria,” Middle East Institute, January 27, 2015, http://www.mei.edu/content/map/there-and-back-again-indonesian-fighters-syria.
ISIS

In July 2014, JI leader Abu Bakr Bashir pledged allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi from an Indonesian prison.Perdani, Yuliasri and Ina Parlina. “Govt to tighten prison security following Ba’asyir’s ‘baiat’,” Jakarta Post, August 5, 2014, http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2014/08/05/govt-tighten-prison-security-following-ba-asyir-s-baiat.html. JI’s alignment with ISIS has renewed fears of the resurgent threat JI poses in Australia and the surrounding region.Stephanie Balogh, “Jemaah Islamiah alignment to Islamic State a potential threat: Abbott,” Australian (Surry Hills), August 21, 2014, http://www.theaustralian.com.au/in-depth/middle-east-in-turmoil/jemaah-islamiah-alignment-to-islamic-state-a-potential-threat-abbott/story-fn7ycml4-1227031712670. Australian PM Abbot concurs on this assessment, stating, “Jemaah Islamiyah have pledged their allegiance to the ISIL movement and that does indicate the potential for increased terror activity in our region.”Sarah Dean, David Martosko et al, “‘Truly sickening and utterly evil’: Tony Abbott warns of Aussie beheadings as it’s revealed Indonesian terrorists Jemaah Islamiyah has sided with ISIS killers who beheaded James Foley,” Daily Mail (London), August 20, 2014, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2730480/PM-Tony-Abbott-warns-Australians-new-threats-Indonesian-terror-group-Jemaah-Islamiyah-calls-James-Foleys-beheading-truly-sickening.html. Some analysts believe that the Indonesian jihadists see ISIS as an “embryo of an Islamic caliphate.”“Indonesians joining rebels in Syria, Iraq,” Manila Times, June 20, 2012, http://www.manilatimes.net/indonesians-joining-rebels-in-syria-iraq/105529/.
The Nusra Front

By one account from a JI member himself, there were at least 150 Indonesian fighters who have joined either ISIS or Nusra Front to fight on the frontlines in Syria.Julie Chernov Hwang and Noor Huda Ismail, “There and Back Again: Indonesian Fighters in Syria,” Middle East Institute, January 27, 2015, http://www.mei.edu/content/map/there-and-back-again-indonesian-fighters-syria. The Nusra Front is a jihadist insurgent group and al-Qaeda’s formal affiliate in Syria. It aims to replace Syria’s Assad regime with an Islamist state.
 
Jemaah Ansharut Tauhid (JAT), Indonesia

JAT seeks to establish an extreme interpretation of Islamic law with the ultimate goal of creating an Indonesian caliphate. There is likely an overlap in membership with JI since JAT founder, Abu Bakar Bashir, is a key leader of JI.“Jemaah Anshorut Tauhid (JAT),” 2014 Counterterrorism Calendar, accessed October 19, 2014, http://www.nctc.gov/site/groups/jat.html.
Kumpulan Mujahadin Malaysia (KMM, or Malaysian Militant Group), Malaysia

KMM is a Malaysian extremist group that seeks to overthrow the Malaysian government and establish an Islamic state. The group also aims to include Indonesia and southern Philippines to create a pan-Southeast Asian Islamic state. Many of KMM’s members, much like the Jemaah Islamiyah, (JI) trained as jihadists in Afghanistan with some members fighting in the Soviet-Afghan war.“Kumpulan Mujahidin Malaysia (KMM), Malaysian Mujahideen Movement,” Global Security.org, accessed April 17, 2015, http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/para/kmm.htm. As mujahidin, KMM members established relationships with members of other Islamic extremist groups in the region.“Kumpulan Mujahidin Malaysia (KMM), Malaysian Mujahideen Movement,” Global Security.org, accessed April 17, 2015, http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/para/kmm.htm. Some sources claim that Abu Bakar Bashir, JI’s emir, is a founder of the KMM,“Jemaah Islamiyah,” Mapping Militant Organizations, Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University, February 2012, http://web.stanford.edu/group/mappingmilitants/cgi-bin/groups/view/251. while others claim that he advises and assists KMM leaders.“Terrorist Organization Profile: Kumpulan Mujahidin Malaysia (KMM),” National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism, accessed April 17, 2015, http://www.start.umd.edu/tops/terrorist_organization_profile.asp?id=4401.

Media Coverage

  • JI and ISIS, Resurgent Threat

    JI was thought to be lying dormant after the arrests and killings of many of its top leaders. One analyst even asserts that the group is now defunct...
  • JI and Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG)

    Both Western and Southeast Asian media outlets highlight the strong relationship between JI and the ASG, the latter still making news even in the U.S...

Rhetoric

View All

Istimata (Absolute Struggle) Webpage, In Reference to Bali bombings, December 2002

“Let it be acknowledged that every single drop of Muslim blood, be it from any nationality and from any place will be remembered and accounted for.

[…]

“The heinous crime and international conspiracy of the Christians also extends to the Philippines and Indonesia. This has resulted in Muslim cleansing in Moro, Ambon, Poso and surrounding areas. It is clearly evident the crusade is continuing and will not stop. Every blow will be repaid. Blood will be redeemed by blood. A life for a life. One Muslim to another is like a single body. If one part is in pain, the other part will also feel it.

[…]

“To all you Christian unbelievers, if you define this act on your civilians as heinous and cruel, you yourself have committed crimes which are more heinous. The cries of the babies and Muslim women… has never succeeded in stopping your brutality. Well, here we are the Muslim men! We will harness the pain of the death of our brothers and sisters. You will bear the consequences of your actions wherever you are.

[…]

“We are responsible for the incident in Legina, Kuta, Bali.”Greg Fealy, “Hating Americans: Jemaah Islamiyah and the Bali Bombings,” International Institute for Asian Studies Newsletter #31, July 2003, http://www.iias.nl/iiasn/31/IIASN31_03.pdf.

Abu Bakar Bashir, October 2002

“The government of Indonesia right now is being directed by America to service its needs and the primary need of America is to bury Islam particularly in Indonesia. Therefore, following on from this, America will be able to direct political and economic affairs in accordance with its own desires. Because of this, let us defend our religion, let us being to defend our religion… Hence our religion Islam, our nation and our country is currently being threatened by foreign races with hall manner of libels, with the bombings in Bali, with explosions everywhere, all of those are the plots of non-believers whose aims are to weaken and profane the believers of Islam. Therefore, accordingly they can exert power over this country in order that it may be taken advantage of. Brother and sisters let us hope for and be conscious of the defense of Islam, let us embark upon Jihad for Allah, let us struggle to implement the law of Allah and let us apply a unity within ourselves between all Muslims.”Zachary Abuza, Militant Islam in Southeast Asia: Crucible of Terror (Boulder: Lynne Rienner Publishers Inc., 2003),167.

Imam Samudra, Bali Bombing Perpetrator, October 2002

“I hate Americans because it is the real center of international terrorism, which has already repeatedly tyrannized Islam…I carry out jihad because it’s the duty of a Muslim to avenge, so the American terrorists and their allies understand that the blood of the Muslim community is not shed for nothing.”Greg Fealy, “Hating Americans: Jemaah Islamiyah and the Bali Bombings,” International Institute for Asian Studies Newsletter #31, July 2003, http://www.iias.nl/iiasn/31/IIASN31_03.pdf.