With some Southeast Asian Muslims raising funds and recruiting fighters for Syria, concerns are growing that these activities will eventually raise the risk of terrorism in the region. The numbers are still low, but some governments—Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore in particular—are beginning to wonder what the impact will be a few years hence if some of their extremist nationals or neighbors come back with new skills.
The past decade has seen a steady decline in the extremist threat from the region, which was once seen as a possible “second front” for al-Qaida. Enhanced vigilance, good law enforcement, reasonably cooperative interstate relations, the peaceful resolution of communal conflicts in Indonesia and the closing of major terrorist training centers have combined to weaken the networks that had posed the biggest threat. Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), the group responsible for the 2002 Bali bombings, once had a presence in five countries. But by 2003, it had largely been reduced to Indonesia, and its leaders decided to end violent action there in 2007. They argued that it had become counterproductive, caused unnecessary Muslim deaths, had weakened the organization through arrests and was not supported by the community. JI should therefore focus on religious outreach and education until the organization could be rebuilt, the leaders believed. ...
To read the rest, sign up to try World Politics Review
- TWO WEEKS FREE.
- Cancel any time.
- After two weeks, just $11.99 monthly or $94.99/year.
Request a free trial for your office or school. Everyone at a given site can get access through our institutional subscriptions.
- Diplomatic Fallout: Will Libya, Nigeria Trigger Nation-Building’s Comeback in 2015?
- World Citizen: Prosecutor’s Death Raises Suspicions From Argentina to Iran
- Strategic Horizons: The Paris Attacks and the Logic of Insurgency
- World Citizen: In Bitter Irony, Jihadi Women Serve as Useful Propaganda
- Global Insights: Calling Russia’s Bluff on Iran Nuclear Talks