Military Wiki
Jemaah Islamiah
Ideology Islamism
Islamic fundamentalism
Sunni Islam
Area of
Southeast Asia
Allies Taliban
Flag of Jihad.svg Al-Qaeda
Abu Sayyaf
Opponents Indonesia Indonesian National Police
Indonesia Indonesian Armed Forces
United States United States
Philippines Philippines

Jemaah Islamiah[1] (Arabic language: الجماعة الإسلامية‎, al-Jamāʿat ul-Islāmíyatu, meaning "Islamic Congregation", frequently abbreviated JI),[2] is a Southeast Asian militant Islamist terrorist organization dedicated to the establishment of a Daulah Islamiyah (regional Islamic caliphate) in Southeast Asia.[3][4] On 25 October 2002, immediately following the JI perpetrated Bali bombing, JI was added to the UN Security Council Resolution 1267 as a terrorist organization linked to al-Qaeda or the Taliban.[5]

JI is a transnational organization with cells in Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines.[6] In addition to al-Qaeda the group is also thought to have links to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front[6] and Jamaah Ansharut Tauhid, a splinter cell of the JI which was formed by Abu Bakar Baasyir on 27 July 2008 and was later also added to the U.S. State Department's list of terrorist organizations.[7] It remained very active in Indonesia where it publicly maintained a website as of January 2014.[8]


JI has its roots in Darul Islam (DI, meaning "House of Islam"), a radical Islamist/anti-colonialist movement in Indonesia in the 1940s.[9]

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 1 January 1993, by JI leaders, Abu Bakar Bashir and Abdullah Sungkar[10] while hiding in Malaysia from the persecution of the Suharto government.[11] After the fall of the Suharto regime in 1998, both men returned to Indonesia[12] 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.[13]

JI's violent operations began during the communal conflicts in Maluku and Poso.[14] It shifted its attention to targeting US and Western interests in Indonesia and the wider Southeast Asian region[15] 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.

Recruiting, training, indoctrination, financial, and operational links between the JI and other militant groups,[16] 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, and continue to this day(December 2003).[17]

Bashir became the spiritual leader of the organization 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 organization

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

  • Australia Australia
  • Indonesia Indonesia
  • Philippines Philippines
  • United States United States
  • Malaysia Malaysia
  • Brunei Brunei Darussalam
  • Singapore Singapore
  • Thailand Thailand

2002 Bali bombing

Prior to the first Bali bombing on 12 October 2002, there was underestimation to the threat Jemaah Islamiah posed.[18] After this attack, the U.S. State Department designated Jemaah Islamiah as a Foreign Terrorist Organization.[19]

Other terrorist attacks

In 2003 Indonesian 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.[citation needed] 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.[citation needed]

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.[citation needed] While several of its former leaders, including Malaysian jihadist 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.[citation needed]

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.[20]

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.[21]

In 2010 Indonesian authorities cracked down on the Jemaah Islamiah network in Aceh. Between February and May 2010, more than 60 militants were captured.[22] This Aceh network was established by Dulmatin sometime after 2007 when he returned to Indonesia.[23]


  • 12 March 2000, 3 JI members were arrested in Manila carrying plastic explosives in their luggage. One of them is later jailed for 17 years.
  • 1 August 2000, Jemaah Islamiah attempted to assassinate the Philippine ambassador to Indonesia, Leonides Caday. The bomb detonated as his car entered his official residence in central Jakarta killing two people and injuring 21 others, including the ambassador.
  • 13 September 2000, a car bomb explosion tore through a packed parking deck beneath the Jakarta Stock Exchange building killing 15 people and injuring 20.
  • 24 December 2000, JI took part in a major coordinated terror strike, the Christmas Eve 2000 bombings.
  • 30 December 2000, a series of bombings that occurred around Metro Manila in the Philippines, 22 died and over a hundred were injured. In the following years, several members of the Jemaah Islamiah for their suspected involvement in the bombings.
  • 5 June 2002, Indonesian authorities arrest Kuwaiti Omar al-Faruq. Handed over to the US authorities, he subsequently confesses he is a senior al-Qaeda operative sent to Southeast Asia to orchestrate attacks against U.S. interests. He reveals to investigators detailed plans of a new terror spree in Southeast Asia.
  • After many warnings by U.S. authorities of a credible terrorist threat in Jakarta, on 23 September 2002, a grenade explodes in a car near the residence of a U.S. embassy official in Jakarta, killing one of the attackers.
  • 26 September 2002, the US State Department issued a travel warning urging Americans and other Westerners in Indonesia to avoid locations such as bars, restaurants and tourist areas.
  • 2 October 2002, a US Soldier and two Filipinos are killed in a JI nail-bomb attack outside a bar in the southern Philippine city of Zamboanga
  • 10 October 2002, a bomb rips through a bus terminal in the southern Philippine city of Kidapawan, killing six people and injuring twenty-four. On the same day The U.S. ambassador in Jakarta, Ralph Boyce, personally delivers to the Indonesian President a message of growing concern that Americans could become targets of terrorist actions in her country.
  • 12 October 2002, on the second anniversary of the USS Cole bombing in Yemen, a huge car bomb kills more than 202 and injures 300 on the Indonesian resort island of Bali. Most are foreigners, mainly Australian tourists. It is preceded by a blast at the US consulate in nearby Denpasar. The attack known as the 2002 Bali Bombing is the most deadly attack executed by JI to date.
  • Bashir was arrested by the Indonesian police and was given a light sentence for treason.
  • Hambali was arrested in Thailand on 11 August 2003, and is currently in prison in Jordan, according to Haaretz.
  • A bomb manual published by the Jemaah Islamiah was used in the 2002 Bali terrorist bombing and the 2003 JW Marriott hotel bombing.
  • A British-born Australian named Jack Roche confessed to being part of a JI plot to blow up the Israeli embassy in Canberra, Australia on 28 May 2004. He was sentenced to 9 years in prison on 31 May. The man admitted to meeting figures like Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan.
  • JI are widely suspected of being responsible for the bombing outside the Australian embassy in Jakarta on 9 September 2004, which killed 11 Indonesians and wounded over 160 more.
  • They are also suspected of committing the 1 October, 2005 Bali bombings.
  • 9 November 2005, bomb-making expert and influential figure in Indonesian terrorist organization, Azahari Husin was killed in a raid at Malang, East Java.
  • 5 August 2006, Al-Qaeda's Al Zawahiri appeared on a recorded video announcing that JI and Al-Qaeda had joined forces and that the two groups will form "one line, facing its enemies".[citation needed]
  • 13 June 2007, Abu Dujana, the head of JI's military operations, is captured by Indonesian police.
  • 15 June 2007, Indonesian police announced the capture of Zarkasih, who was leading Jemaah Islamiah since the capture of Hambali. Zarkasih is believed to be the emir of JI.[24]
  • 27 February 2008, the leader of JI in Singapore, Mas Selamat bin Kastari, escaped from the Whitley Road Detention Centre.[25]
  • 1 April 2009, Mas Selamat bin Kastari was recaptured in a raid by Pasukan Gerakan Khas and Special Branch in Johor, Malaysia.[26]
  • 17 July 2009, Jemaah Islamiah blamed for attacks on the Ritz Carlton Jakarta and the J.W. Marriott hotels in Jakarta.[27]
  • 17 September 2009, Noordin Top was killed in a raid by Indonesian police in Solo, Central Java. Top was a recruiter, bomb maker, and explosions expert for Jemaah Islamiyah. However, later on his colleagues in Jemaah Islamiah claimed that Noordin had formed his own splinter cell which was even more violent and militant. He was for a while dubbed the "most wanted Islamic militant in South East Asia".
  • 9 March 2010, Dulmatin was killed in a raid by Detasemen khusus 88 in Pamulang, South Jakarta
  • 13 December 2010, Indonesian police charged Abu Bakar Bashir, spiritual head of Jemaah Islamiyah, with involvement in plans of terror and military training in Aceh province. The charge against him of inciting others to commit terrorism carries the death penalty.
  • January 2012, the Philippine military announced that it had killed two key leaders of Jemiah Islamiah, a Malaysian called Zulkifli bin Hir (aka Marwan) and Mohammad Ali (aka Muawiyah). Senior intelligence sources later stated that Hir and Ali survived the air strike. Reports of Bin Hir's death were again retracted in 2014.[28][29][30][31]
  • 14 December 2012, the Philippine police tries to kill a suspected Malaysian terrorist after he was trying to detonate a bomb in Davao City, Philippines, and including one of a wife from Bicol Region after being arrested by the police.[32]
  • 26 February 2014, Sheikh Kahar Mundos, a bomb maker, left a bomb in a motorcycle hidden at the city hall in Cagayan de Oro City, Philippines.[33]
  • 27 June 2014, Abdul Basit Usman, a bomb maker who was falsely reported killed in a US airstrike in Pakistan in 2010, is revealed to be alive and a potential terror threat.[34]

See also

Notes and references

  1. 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.
  2. Zalman, Amy. "Jemaah Islamiyah (JI)". Retrieved 2008-08-01. 
  3. Counter-Society to Counter-State: Jemaah Islamiah According to Pupji, p. 11., Elena Pavlova, The Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies, [1]
  4. 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?"
  5. "UN Press Release SC/7548". 
  6. 6.0 6.1 "UCDP Conflict Encyclopedia, Indonesia". Retrieved 2013-04-30. 
  7. "Janes, Jamaah Ansharut Tauhid (JAT) (Indonesia), GROUPS – ASIA – ACTIVE". Retrieved 2013-04-30. 
  8. "Jamaah Ansharut Tauhid website, accessed 17 January 2013". Retrieved 2013-04-30. 
  9. Rommel C. Banlaoi. "Jemaah Islamiyah Briefer: Evolution, Organization and Ideology". 
  10. Jemaah Islamiyah Dossier, Blake Mobley,2006-08-26, Center For Policing Terrorism
  11. "Genealogies of Islamic Radicalism in post-Suharto Indonesia,Martin van Bruinessen, ISIM and Utrecht University". Retrieved 2013-04-30. 
  12. Gauging Jemaah Islamiyah's Threat in Southeast Asia, Sharif Shuja, 2005-04-21, The Jamestown Foundation, Terrorism Monitor, Volume 3, Issue 8[dead link]
  13. head clue to Jakarta bomb BBC 2003-08-09[dead link]
  14. Weakening Indonesia's Mujahidin Networks: Lessons from Maluku and Poso, 2005-10-13, International Crisis Group, Asia Report N°103[dead link]
  15. Rommel C. Banlaoi. "Jemaah Islamiyah Briefer: Terrorist Activities, Targets and Victims". 
  16. Rommel C. Banlaoi. "Jemaah Islamiyah Briefer: Links with Foreign Terrorist Organizations". 
  17. Zachary Abuza (December 2003). "Funding Terrorism in Southeast Asia: The Financial Network of Al Qaeda and Jemaah Islamiyah" (PDF). The National Bureau of Asian Research. Retrieved 2007-01-28. 
  18. Singapore facts stranger than fiction The Age 21 September 2002
  19. Country Reports on Terrorism 2011 US Department of State. 31 July 2012
  20. "JI forms new shoot-to-kill hit squad in Indonesia". The Straits Times. 16 April 2007. 
  21. "JI declared an illegal network". The Sydney Morning Herald. 22 April 2008. 
  22. Terror suspects nabbed The Straits Times 14 May 2010
  23. Indonesia: Jihadi Surprise in Aceh International Crisis Group 20 April 2010
  24. "Indonesia Captures "Emir" of Regional Terrorist Network". Monsters & Critics. 15 June 2007. 
  25. "JI detainee Mas Selamat bin Kastari escapes from Singapore detention centre". Channel NewsAsia. 27 February 2008. 
  26. "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. 8 May 2009. 
  27. "Blasts at Luxury Hotels in Jakarta Kill 8, Injure 50". Fox News. 17 July 2009.,2933,533424,00.html. 
  28. BBC (2 February 2012). "Profile: Jemaah Islamiah". BBC. 
  32. "Malaysian JI bomber killed in Davao City". CNN iReport. 14 December 2012. 
  33. "Abandoned motorbike sparks bomb scare in CDO". ABS-CBN News. 26 February 2014. 
  34. "PNoy alerts Duterte on potential terror threat". ABS-CBN News. 27 June 2014. 

Further reading

  • Abuza, Zachary. Militant Islam in Southeast Asia: Crucible of Terror. Boulder, Colorado, USA: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2003. ISBN 1-58826-237-5.
  • Atran, Scott (2010). Talking to the Enemy: Faith, Brotherhood, and the (Un)Making of Terrorists. New York: Ecco Press / HarperCollins. ISBN 978-0-06-134490-9.
  • Barton, Greg (2005). Jemaah Islamiyah: radical Islam in Indonesia. Singapore: Singapore University Press. ISBN 9971-69-323-2.
  • Lim, Merlyna. Islamic Radicalism and Anti-Americanism in Indonesia: The Role of the Internet. Washington: East-West Center, 2005. ISBN 978-1-932728-34-7.
  • Reeve, Simon. The New Jackals: Ramzi Yousef, Osama Bin Laden and the Future of Terrorism. Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1999. ISBN 1-55553-509-7.
  • Ressa, Maria. Seeds of Terror: An Eyewitness Account of Al-Qaeda's Newest Center of Operations in Southeast Asia. New York: Free Press, 2003. ISBN 0-7432-5133-4.
  • Advent – a novel of the JI threat in Singapore. ISBN 978-981-07-6389-3

External links

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