News / Asia

    Jakarta Attack Raises Fears of Jihad in Asia

    Indonesian soldiers man armored vehicles as they guard near the site where an attack occurred in Jakarta, Jan. 14, 2016.
    Indonesian soldiers man armored vehicles as they guard near the site where an attack occurred in Jakarta, Jan. 14, 2016.
    Shannon Van Sant

    Thursday's terrorist attacks in Jakarta have raised concern throughout Asia that the Islamic State group is attempting to create a caliphate in Indonesia, which has the largest Muslim population in the world.

    The attack in the capital killed two people along with five attackers, and prompted Indonesian authorities to call for cooperation with countries throughout Asia in the fight against Islamic extremism.

    It also follows the arrests in December of 13 men across the island of Java, including one Chinese Muslim Uighur with a suicide bomber vest. Indonesian authorities believe increasing numbers of Chinese are traveling to the country to wage jihad.

    Route for militants

    Biveer Singh of the Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore said Indonesia may be an increasingly popular transit route for militants seeking to join IS.

    An elementary school student holds a placard reading "Students are not afraid" at a small anti-terrorism rally in central Jakarta a day after a gun and bomb attack in the city, Jan. 15, 2016.
    An elementary school student holds a placard reading "Students are not afraid" at a small anti-terrorism rally in central Jakarta a day after a gun and bomb attack in the city, Jan. 15, 2016.

    “Most of them are actually en route, either on the way to Syria and Iraq, and on the way back to Southeast Asia, or as some reports indicate, after having come back from Syria and Iraq, on the way back, then go to Southeast Asia," Singh said.

    The Chinese Uighur man was arrested December 23 in a house just outside of Jakarta. Authorities believe that he, and many others, are answering a call by Santoso, who lives in the jungles of eastern Indonesia, to fight for the Islamic State group.

    Todd Elliott, a terrorism analyst at Concord Consulting in Jakarta, says IS propaganda may be prompting Uighurs to leave China’s westernmost province of Xinjiang.

    “The spread of ISIS’s propaganda, Xinjiang is not immune to that. I think that is also prompting some Uighurs from that region to seek other countries for jihad," Elliott said.

    Chinese crackdown

    Protests and violence have killed hundreds over the past few years in Xinjiang, and many say religious repression and cultural genocide are inspiring Uighurs to leave China. Beijing has cracked down on the region in what it has called an attempt to root out terrorism.

    A police armored vehicle is parked outside a Starbucks cafe after an explosion in Jakarta, Indonesia, Jan. 14, 2016.
    A police armored vehicle is parked outside a Starbucks cafe after an explosion in Jakarta, Indonesia, Jan. 14, 2016.

    But some say it is a veiled effort to forcibly repress and assimilate the Uighur ethnic minority.

    This week’s attacks in Jakarta, and the arrest of a Chinese Uighur there last month, will likely bolster China’s claim that the threat of terrorism within the mainland and abroad is growing.

    Wang Dong, a professor of International Relations at Peking University, said this shared threat will improve ties between China and Indonesia.

    “This is actually an indication of really cooperation between China and Indonesia on terrorism, and also because China and Indonesia share the concern of the threat of terrorism," Wang said.

    Indonesia has been the target of several terrorist attacks, most notably the 2002 Bali bombings that killed 202 people; mostly foreign tourists.

    You May Like

    US-Russia Tensions Complicate Syria War

    With a shared enemy and opposing allies, Russia and the US are working to avoid confrontation

    Video Re-opening Old Wounds in Beirut's Bullet-riddled Yellow House

    Built in neo-Ottoman style in 1920s, it is set to be re-opened in Sept. as ‘memory museum’ - bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity

    Cambodian-Americans Lobby for Human Rights Resolution

    Resolution condemns all forms of political violence in Cambodia, urges Cambodian government to end human rights violations, calls for respect of press freedom

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora