News / Asia

Indonesian Terror Mastermind Vows to Continue Jihad

Islamist militant Sigit Indrajit, center, is escorted by plain-clothed police officers after his sentencing proceeding at a district court in Jakarta, Indonesia, Jan. 21, 2014.
Islamist militant Sigit Indrajit, center, is escorted by plain-clothed police officers after his sentencing proceeding at a district court in Jakarta, Indonesia, Jan. 21, 2014.
Kate Lamb
The Indonesian courts this week jailed the mastermind of a planned terrorist attack on the Burmese Embassy in Jakarta. Sentenced to seven-and-a-half years in prison, the hardliner vowed he would continue to fight the enemies of Islam.
 
Sigit Indrajit was the third to be jailed in the foiled embassy bomb plot. Police apprehended the hardliners in Jakarta last May, one with a backpack full of explosives.
 
At an earlier trial Indrajit confessed to leading the planned attack to avenge the deaths of ethnic Rohingya Muslims, a minority group denied citizenship in Burma.
 
The treatment of the Rohingya, who have been the focus of violent attacks in mainly Buddhist Burma over the past year, has generated widespread anger in Indonesia.
 
Given the potential severity of the attack on a diplomatic mission in the country’s economic and political center, terrorism analysts say the court’s decision this week could have been more severe.
 
According to Todd Elliot, an analyst from Concorde Consulting, it is likely Indrajit won’t serve the full sentence, and will be released with an “elevated stature.”
 
“He will do his time, maybe get out early, sentence reductions or whatever, he’ll be out in a couple of years," opined Elliot, "and he’ll go right out into the terrorist movement, not only that he will come out with an elevated stature in the movement as he in jail because he participated in this plot he’ll come out with a degree of respect among the jihadist community.”
 
The embassy plot followed calls from Abu Bakar Bashir, who from behind bars urged Indonesian Muslims to pursue jihad in Burma, also known as Myanmar.
 
Bashir is one of the founders of Jemaah Islamiyah, or JI, the terrorist organization behind the deadly 2002 nightclub bombings in Bali.
 
He is currently serving a 15-year jail term.
 
Despite a significant crackdown on terrorist networks such as JI following the Bali bombings, analysts say the embassy plot points to the resilience of splinter groups - the most recent manifestation of extremist activity here.

“Groups like JI that attack targets in Bali and Jakarta, you know, they are pretty much in decline or have been eradicated by the successes of the counterterrorism apparatus," explained Elliot, "but violent jihad has not been eradicated, so as a result it has morphed into this dispersed, less predictable threat which is what we are seeing now.”
 
Rather than large-scale attacks, the Indonesian terrorist landscape is comprised of a decentralized mix of networks.
 
Groups who support jihad in countries such as Burma and Syria often use social media to garner support and recruit.
 
Indrajit, for example, met some of his accomplices on Facebook after posting messages about the persecution of Rohingya Muslims.
 
This year alone, authorities have identified several so-called splinter jihadists.
 
In January police shot dead six terrorists in an overnight shootout, west of Jakarta. And at the start of this week, police arrested two extremists they allege were ready to launch attacks on officers.
 
But terrorism analyst Noor Huda Ismail says that even when convicted terrorists are put in prison, they often come out more radicalized. Hardline materials such as books, even cell phones, are easily smuggled into Indonesian jails.
 
“More importantly terrorist inmates have easy access to meet with other inmates because even though they are segregated, during a certain time, usually the morning or afternoon, their cell will be opened up and they can mingle with other prisoners,” Huda said.
 
The analyst, who heads the Institute for the International Peace Building, an NGO, works with convicted terrorists to challenge their hardline views.
 
He also helps them reintegrate into society once they are released.
 
But he says terrorist recruitment is a huge problem inside Indonesian jails, with hardliners slowly but gradually building relationship with criminal inmates.
 
“Because these terrorist inmates are driven by ideology, they are smarter, they can provide hope to other criminal inmates then naturally those inmates will come to them and ask for advice, and their perspective," Huda explained.
 
Indonesia has more Muslims than the entire Arab world, but most do not subscribe to radical views.
 
Inspired by global jihadist causes from the Philippines to Afghanistan, fringe radical groups have existed for decades in Indonesia.

You May Like

Tired of Waiting, South Africans Demand Change ‘Now’

With chronic poverty and lack of basic services largely fueling recent xenophobic attacks, many in Rainbow Nation say it’s time for government to act More

Challenges Ahead for China's Development Plans in Pakistan

Planned $46 billion in energy and infrastructure investments in Pakistan are aimed at transforming the country into a regional hub for trade and investment More

'Forbidden City' Revisits Little Known Era of Asian-American Entertainment

Little-known chapter of entertainment history captured in 80s documentary is revisited in new digitally remastered format and book More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Cassidy from: UK
January 22, 2014 11:54 AM
the problem with US is that we do not listen to them... we think that somehow they don't mean what they clearly do mean. we see this in Philistine mothers strap suicide vests on their children, Syrian Suicide bombers, Iraqi suicide murderers, Iranian degeneracy... look at Lebanon... look at Holland for crying out loud - with their huge Arab population... Germany, Italy, full of ghastly Iranians and Arabs... we must do something to confront this evil. NOW!!!

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festivali
X
April 24, 2015 4:09 AM
Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Keeping Washington Airspace Safe Is Tall Order

Being the home of all three branches of the U.S. federal government makes Washington, D.C. the prime target for those who want to make their messages and ideas heard. Unfortunately, many of them choose to deliver them in unorthodox ways, including from the air, as a recent incident clearly showed involving a gyrocopter landing on the Capitol’s West Lawn. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.
Video

Video Hope, Prayer Enter Fight Against S. Africa Xenophobia

South Africa has been swept by disturbing attacks on foreign nationals. Some blame the attacks on a legacy of colonialism, while others say the economy is to blame. Whatever the cause, ordinary South Africans - and South African residents from around the world - say they're praying for the siege of violence to end. Anita Powell reports from Johannesburg.

VOA Blogs