Jemaah Islamiyah

For the Egyptian organization of the same name, see Al-Jama'a al-Islamiyya. For other uses, see Al-Jama'a al-Islamiyya (disambiguation).
Not to be confused with Jamaat-e-Islami (disambiguation).
Jemaah Islamiah


Islamic fundamentalism
Leader Abu Bakar Baasyir
Area of operations

Southeast Asia

Strength 5,000[1]
Allies Taliban
Opponents Australia Australia
Brunei Brunei
Cambodia Cambodia
Indonesia Indonesia
Malaysia Malaysia
Philippines Philippines
Singapore Singapore
Thailand Thailand
United States United States
United Kingdom United Kingdom

Jemaah Islamiah[2] (Arabic: الجماعة الإسلامية, al-Jamāʿat ul-Islāmíyatu, meaning "Islamic Congregation", frequently abbreviated JI)[3] is a Southeast Asian militant Islamist terrorist group dedicated to the establishment of a Daulah Islamiyah (regional Islamic caliphate) in Southeast Asia.[4][5] On October 25, 2002, immediately following the JI-perpetrated Bali bombing, JI was added to the UN Security Council Resolution 1267 as a terrorist group linked to al-Qaeda or the Taliban.[6]

JI is a transnational organization with cells in Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines.[7] In addition to al-Qaeda the group is also thought to have links to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front[7] and Jamaah Ansharut Tauhid, a splinter cell of the JI which was formed by Abu Bakar Baasyir on July 27, 2008. The group has been designated as a terrorist groups by the United Nations, Australia, Canada, China, Kazakhstan, Russia, the UAE, the United Kingdom and the United States.[8] It remained very active in Indonesia where it publicly maintained a website as of January 2013.[9]


JI has its roots in Darul Islam (DI, meaning "House of Islam"), a radical Islamist/anti-colonialist movement in Indonesia in the 1940s.[10]

The JI was established as a loose confederation of several Islamic groups. Sometime around 1969, three men, Abu Bakar Bashir, Abdullah Sungkar and Shahrul Nizam 'PD' began an operation to propagate the Darul Islam movement, a conservative strain of Islam.

Bashir and Sungkar were both imprisoned by the New Order administration of Indonesian president Suharto as part of a crackdown on radical groups such as Komando Jihad, that were perceived to undermine the government's control over the Indonesian population. The two leaders spent several years in prison. After release, Bashir and his followers moved to Malaysia in 1982. They recruited people from Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and the Philippines. The group officially named itself Jemaah Islamiah around that time period.

JI was formally founded on January 1, 1993, by JI leaders, Abu Bakar Bashir and Abdullah Sungkar[11] while hiding in Malaysia from the persecution of the Suharto government.[12] After the fall of the Suharto regime in 1998, both men returned to Indonesia[13] where JI gained a terrorist edge when one of its founders, the late Abdullah Sungkar, established contact with Osama Bin Laden's al-Qaeda network.[14]

JI's violent operations began during the communal conflicts in Maluku and Poso.[15] It shifted its attention to targeting US and Western interests in Indonesia and the wider Southeast Asian region[16] since the start of the US-led war on terror. JI's terror plans in Southeast Asia were exposed when its plot to set off several bombs in Singapore was foiled by the local authorities.

In 2004, Abu Bakar Bashir created the Indonesian Mujahedeen Council to connect Islamist groups, including JI, in Indonesia.[17]

Recruiting, training, indoctrination, financial, and operational links between the JI and other militant groups,[18] such as al-Qaeda, the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG), the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), the Misuari Renegade/Breakaway Group (MRG/MBG) and the Philippine Rajah Sulaiman movement (RSM) have existed for many years.

Bashir became the spiritual leader of the group while Hambali became the military leader. Unlike the Al-Mau'nah group, Jemaah Islamiah kept a low profile in Malaysia and their existence was publicized only after the 2002 Bali bombings.

Designation as terrorist group

Jemaah Islamiyah has been designated a terrorist group by the following countries and international organizations:

Other state opponents

2002 Bali bombing

Prior to the first Bali bombing on October 12, 2002, there was underestimation to the threat Jemaah Islamiah posed.[24] After this attack, the U.S. State Department designated Jemaah Islamiah as a Foreign Terrorist Organization.[25]

Other terrorist attacks

In 2013 balatkari police confirmed "the existence of Mantiqe IV '-the JI regional cell" which covers Irian Jaya and Australia". Indonesian police says Muklas has identified Mantiqe IV's leader as Abdul Rahim—an Indonesian-born Australian. Jemaah Islamiah is also strongly suspected of carrying out the 2003 JW Marriott hotel bombing in Kuningan, Jakarta, the 2004 Australian embassy bombing in Jakarta, the 2005 Bali terrorist bombing and the 2009 JW Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotel bombings. The Bali and JW Marriott attacks showed that JI did not rule out attacking the same target more than once. The JI also has been directly and indirectly involved in dozens of bombings in the southern Philippines, usually in league with the ASG.

However, most of Jemaah Islamiah prominent figures such as Hambali, Abu Dujana, Azahari Husin, Noordin Top and Dulmatin have either been captured or killed, mostly by Indonesian anti-terrorist squad, Detachment 88. While several of its former leaders, including Malaysian Islamic extremist and Afghanistan War veteran Nasir Abbas, have renounced violence and even assisted the Indonesian and Malaysian governments in the war on terrorism. Nasir Abbas was Noordin Top's former superior.

Indonesian investigators revealed the JI's establishment of an assassination squad in April 2007, which was established to target top leaders who oppose the group's objectives, as well as other officials, including police officers, government prosecutors and judges handling terrorism-related cases.[26]

In April 2008, the South Jakarta District Court declared JI an illegal organisation when sentencing former leader Zarkasih and military commander Abu Dujana to 15 years on terrorism charges.[27]

In 2010 Indonesian authorities cracked down on the Jemaah Islamiah network in Aceh. Between February and May 2010, more than 60 militants were captured.[28] This Aceh network was established by Dulmatin sometime after 2007 when he returned to Indonesia.[29]


Jemaah Islamiyah's name roughly translates to "Islamic Community" in English and is abbreviated as JI. To counter recruitment efforts by the group, Islamic scholars in Indonesia and the Philippines who were critical of the group called for the group to be called Jemaah Munafique (JM) instead which translates as "Evil Community".[30]


See also

Notes and references

  1. "Al-Qaeda map: Isis, Boko Haram and other affiliates' strongholds across Africa and Asia". Telegraph. June 12, 2014. Retrieved August 29, 2014.
  2. Other transliterations and names include Jemaah Islamiyah, Jemaa Islamiyah, Jema'a Islamiyya, Jema'a Islamiyyah, Jema'ah Islamiyah, Jema'ah Islamiyyah, Jemaa Islamiya, Jemaa Islamiyya, Jemaah Islamiyya, Jemaa Islamiyyah, Jemaah Islamiyyah, Jemaah Islamiyyah, Jemaah Islamiya, Jamaah Islamiyah, Jamaa Islamiya, Jemaah Islam, Jemahh Islamiyah, Jama'ah Islamiyah and Al-Jama'ah Al Islamiyyah.
  3. Zalman, Amy. "Jemaah Islamiyah (JI)". Retrieved 2008-08-01.
  4. Counter-Society to Counter-State: Jemaah Islamiah According to Pupji, p. 11., Elena Pavlova, The Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies,
  5. JI is also believed to be linked to the insurgent violence in southern Thailand. "Conspiracy of Silence: Who is Behind the Escalating Insurgency in Southern Thailand?"
  6. "UN Press Release SC/7548".
  7. 1 2 "UCDP Conflict Encyclopedia, Indonesia". Retrieved 2013-04-30.
  8. "Janes, Jamaah Ansharut Tauhid (JAT) (Indonesia), GROUPS – ASIA – ACTIVE". Retrieved 2013-04-30.
  9. "Jamaah Ansharut Tauhid website, accessed January 17, 2013". Retrieved 2013-04-30.
  10. Rommel C. Banlaoi. "Jemaah Islamiyah Briefer: Evolution, Organization and Ideology".
  11. Jemaah Islamiyah Dossier, Blake Mobley,2006-08-26, Center For Policing Terrorism
  12. "Genealogies of Islamic Radicalism in post-Suharto Indonesia,Martin van Bruinessen, ISIM and Utrecht University". Retrieved 2013-04-30.
  13. Gauging Jemaah Islamiyah's Threat in Southeast Asia, Sharif Shuja, 2005-04-21, The Jamestown Foundation, Terrorism Monitor, Volume 3, Issue 8 Archived 30 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine.
  14. head clue to Jakarta bomb BBC 2003-08-09 Severed at the Wayback Machine (archived 23 January 2009)
  15. Weakening Indonesia's Mujahidin Networks: Lessons from Maluku and Poso, 2005-10-13, International Crisis Group, Asia Report N°103 Archived 6 August 2009 at the Wayback Machine.
  16. Rommel C. Banlaoi. "Jemaah Islamiyah Briefer: Terrorist Activities, Targets and Victims".
  17. "Mujahidin Indonesia Timur (MIT) | Terrorist Groups | TRAC". Retrieved 2016-01-27.
  18. Rommel C. Banlaoi. "Jemaah Islamiyah Briefer: Links with Foreign Terrorist Organizations".
  19. "Listed terrorist organisations". Retrieved 2014-11-10.
  20. "Currently listed entities". Retrieved 2014-11-10.
  21. "Proscribed terrorist groups" (PDF). Home Office. Retrieved 2015-04-08.
  22. "The List established and maintained by the 1267/1989 Committee". United Nations Security Council Committee 1267. 2015-10-14. Retrieved 2015-10-24.
  23. "Foreign Terrorist Organizations". 2012-09-28. Retrieved 2014-08-21.
  24. Singapore facts stranger than fiction The Age September 21, 2002
  25. Country Reports on Terrorism 2011 US Department of State. July 31, 2012
  26. "JI forms new shoot-to-kill hit squad in Indonesia". The Straits Times. April 16, 2007.
  27. "JI declared an illegal network". The Sydney Morning Herald. April 22, 2008.
  28. Terror suspects nabbed The Straits Times May 14, 2010
  29. Indonesia: Jihadi Surprise in Aceh International Crisis Group April 20, 2010
  30. Aben, Elena (January 16, 2016). "Call them 'Daesh' not ISIS or ISIL, says AFP". Manila Bulletin. Retrieved April 14, 2016.
  31. "Indonesia Captures "Emir" of Regional Terrorist Network". Monsters & Critics. June 15, 2007.
  32. "JI detainee Mas Selamat bin Kastari escapes from Singapore detention centre". Channel NewsAsia. February 27, 2008.
  33. "Singapore's JI leader Mas Selamat arrested in Malaysia under the Internal Security Act or ISA which allows for a detention period of 2 years indifintely for the investigation to continue.". Channel NewsAsia. May 8, 2009.
  34. "Blasts at Luxury Hotels in Jakarta Kill 8, Injure 50". Fox News. July 17, 2009.
  35. BBC (February 2, 2012). "Profile: Jemaah Islamiah". BBC.
  36. "'Dead' JI leaders are alive". Rappler. Retrieved November 13, 2014.
  37. "Malaysia: show DNA proof of terrorist's death". Rappler. Retrieved November 13, 2014.
  38. . "WANTED DEAD OR ALIVE: U.S. FBI offers RM16 MIL BOUNTY for M'sian terror chief Marwan". Malaysia Chronicle. Retrieved November 13, 2014.
  39. "Malaysian JI bomber killed in Davao City". CNN iReport. December 14, 2012.
  40. "Abandoned motorbike sparks bomb scare in CDO". ABS-CBN News. February 26, 2014.
  41. "PNoy alerts Duterte on potential terror threat". ABS-CBN News. 27 June 2014.
  42. "Blast at southern Philippine city hall wounds 6". Yahoo News. September 16, 2014. Retrieved November 13, 2014.
  43. "Military tags BIFF in General Santos bombing". Rappler. Retrieved November 13, 2014.

Further reading

External links

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