Islamic State Returnees Reawaken Extremist Threat for Southeast Asia

Motorists ride past graffiti of the Islamic State flag in Solo, Central Java, Indonesia, March 8, 2014 (AP photo).
Motorists ride past graffiti of the Islamic State flag in Solo, Central Java, Indonesia, March 8, 2014 (AP photo).
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After a steady decline in Islamist extremism in Southeast Asia over the past decade, during which the region shed its post-9/11 image as a possible second front for al-Qaida, the rise of the self-declared Islamic State (IS) has some governments fearing a new threat. In response, Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore in particular are acting individually, bilaterally and regionally to stem recruitment, radicalization and the flow of foreign fighters. Over 500 young Southeast Asians are returning home after fighting for IS, as many did during the Afghan mujahedeen’s jihad against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s. Given that over […]

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