Change and continuity in Indonesian Islamist ideology and terrorist strategies

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3 Citations (Scopus)


The “Islamisation” of Indonesia has exerted a transformative force on every aspect of Indonesian society. That process continues today. It has created streams of change and continuity in thoughts, ideologies and practices, of enormous complexity. Strict doctrinal interpretation of Koranic text is not a new phenomenon, contrary to what some reports in the mass media might suggest. Its roots stretch back at least as far as the 1800s with the outbreak of violent conflicts between those urging a stricter, scripturalist application of Islam, and those adhering to traditionalist and colonialist ideologies--culminating in the Padri war of West Sumatra of 1821-38. Indicating an ostensible continuity of ideology, modern extremist ideologues, such as Abu Bakar Bashir, urge their followers toward violent conflict and terrorist actions based on an ideology of strict “Middle Eastern” interpretation of fundamental Islamic tenets. This paper argues that the strategies of those carrying out radical and violent ideologies are undergoing change, as are the strategies of the authorities tasked with combating them. Radical groups have displayed a shift away from largescale, attacks on symbolic foreign targets towards low-level violence primarily aimed at law enforcement authorities. Authorities, on the other hand, have shown a greater tendency to shoot dead those suspected of involvement with violent radical groups. This paper will examine the changing strategies of violent radical groups and the continuity, and evolution, of the underlying Islamic
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-24
Number of pages24
JournalAl-Jami'ah: Journal of Islamic Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


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