Islamic State making dangerous inroads in Indonesia, Malaysia
By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
9/3/2014 (2 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
As the Islamic State group garners even more international media attention, there is growing concern in the Southeast Asian nations of Indonesia and Malaysia. While both countries have high Muslim populations - if not the highest, in the case of Indonesia - there is growing support for the sinister agenda of the Sunni Muslim organization.
As many as 200 Indonesian jihadists are believed to have travelled to fight with Islamic State. Indonesia's counter-terrorist forces are concerned that returning troops could be emboldened to carry out acts of terrorism on home soil.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - As many as 200 Indonesian jihadists are believed to have travelled to fight with Islamic State. Indonesia's counter-terrorist forces are concerned that returning troops could be emboldened to carry out acts of terrorism on home soil.
As an example of the creeping influence of IS in Indonesia, Abu Bakar Bashir, the imprisoned leader of Jemaah Islamayah (JI), the al-Qaeda-affiliated organization responsible for the 2002 Bali bombing, pledged his allegiance to the Islamic State group from his jail cell last month.
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In response, security was stepped up last week in central Java at Borobodur, the world's largest Buddhist temple, following an apparent bomb threat by IS-affiliated Islamists.
Indonesian hardliners gathered outside a mosque in Solo, central Java in July, to publically pledge allegiance to IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Similar gatherings have been reported in Bima, West Nusa Tengarra, and in Jakarta, the nation's capital.
In Malaysia, authorities last month announced the arrest of 19 people who had allegedly planned to travel to Syria to fight alongside IS. The group is also alleged to have planned to bomb a Carlsberg brewery and bars on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur. About 100 Malaysian fighters are believed to have travelled to the Middle East join the group.
At least three Malaysian women have travelled to the self-declared Islamic State to serve as "comfort women," in a phenomenon described as "jihad al-nikah," or sexual jihad.
Crack anti-terrorist units in Indonesia, trained and funded by the United States and Australia - have largely eradicated JI's terrorist network. In the short term, concerns for a large-scale terrorist attack on the archipelago seem premature. But the efficacy of IS' propaganda, mobilized by social media, has provided a cause around which Indonesia's hardline elements may rally.
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