Jemaah Islamiah ( ,
al-Jamāʿh al-Islāmiyah, meaning "Islamic Congregation"],
frequently abbreviated J.I., is a Southeast Asian militant Islamic organization dedicated to
the establishment of a Daulah Islamiyah (Islamic State) in Southeast Asia incorporating Indonesia, Malaysia, the
southern Philippines, Singapore and Brunei.
was added to the United Nations
Committee's list of terrorist organizations linked to al-Qaeda
or the Taliban
25 October 2002 under UN Security Council
JI has its
roots in Darul Islam (DI, meaning "House
of Islam"), a radical movement in Indonesia in the 1940s.
JI was formally founded on 1
January 1993 by JI leaders, Abu Bakar
and Abdullah Sungkar
while hiding in Malaysia from the persecution of the Suharto
Government. After the fall of the Suharto
regime in 1998, both men returned to
Indonesia where JI gained a terrorist edge when one of its
founders, the late Abdullah
, established contact with Osama Bin Laden
violent operations began during the communal conflicts in Maluku and Poso..
shifted its attention to targeting US and Western interests in
Indonesia and the wider Southeast Asian region since the start of
the US-led war on terror
terror plans in Southeast Asia were exposed when its plot to set off several bombs in
was foiled by the local authorities.
Recruiting, training, indoctrination, financial and operational
links between the JI and other militant groups, 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
existed for many years, and continue to this day.
Islamiah is known to have killed hundreds of civilians in the Bali car
bombing on October 12, 2002.
In the attack, suicide bombers
killed 202 people and wounded
many in two blasts. The first, smaller blast by a suicide bomber
using a backpack, killed a small number of people in a nightclub
and drove the survivors into the street,
where the vast majority were killed by a massive fertilizer/fuel
oil bomb concealed in a parked van. After this attack, the U.S. State Department designated Jemaah Islamiah as a Foreign
Terrorist Organization. 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, and the 2005 Bali terrorist bombing.
JI also has been directly and indirectly involved in dozens of
bombings in the southern
, usually in league with the ASG.
However, most of Jemaah Islamiah prominent figures such as Hambali
, Abu Dujana
, and Noordin Top
have either been captured or killed,
mostly by Indonesian anti-terrorist squad, Detachment 88
. 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 government in the war of
terrorism. Nasir Abbas
superior to Noordin Top
The JI was established as a loose confederation of several Islamic
groups. Sometime around 1969, two men, Abu Bakar Bashir
,and Abdullah Sungkar
, began an operation to
propagate the Darul Islam
conservative strain of Islam
. Darul Islam was almost
eliminated in the 1950s after members belonging to that sect instigated a rebellion in
an effort to create an Islamic state in parts
Bashir and his friends created a pirated radio outfit to preach to
the poor and oppressed in Indonesia . Bashir created a
boarding school in Java.
The school's motto was, "Death in the way
is our highest aspiration."
Bashir and Sungkar were both imprisoned by the New Order administration
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.
In the mid and late 1980s, many members of JI, including Sungkar
and Hambali (see below) joined the Mujahideen
in the resistance movement against the
Soviet occupation of
. They were joined by radical Muslims from extremist
groups worldwide. Many of the connections that define the global
network of Islamist groups that exists today, including those
between al-Qaeda and JI, were made during the conflict in
Back in Southeast Asia, the members of JI distributed pamphlets.
Bashir preached jihad
but he would do very
little violent action. This changed in the 1990s. Bashir met
, a.k.a. Hambali
sometime in the early 1990s at a religious school that Bashir set
up. Bashir became the spiritual leader of the organization while
Hambali became the military leader. Hambali wanted a large Islamic caliphate to be
established across Southeast Asia,
incorporating Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines, Brunei, and
JI first formed itself into a group of terrorist cells
that provided financial and
logistical support when needed, to Al-Qaida
operations in Southeast Asia
formed a front company called Konsojaya
help launder money to such plots, including the Operation Bojinka
plot, which was foiled
on January 6, 1995. The leaders of JI went back to Indonesia in
1998, when Suharto's government was toppled. Hambali went
underground while Bashir publicly promoted jihad.
In January 2000 cleric Hambali
al-Qaeda's key representative in Indonesia , hosted in Malaysia
and Khalid al-Midhar
, who would later take part
in the September 11, 2001
the Al-Mau'nah group, Jemaah Islamiah
kept a low profile in Malaysia and their existence was publicized
only after the 2002 Bali
In 2003 Indonesian police confirmed 'the existence of Mantiqe IV
"-the JI regional cell" which covers Irian Jaya and Australia."
Indonesian police saya Muklas has identified Mantiqe IV's leader as
Abdul Rahim -an Indonesian born Australian'.
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.
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
- August 1, 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 including the
- September 13, 2000 a car bomb explosion tore through a packed
parking deck beneath the Jakarta
Stock Exchange building killing 15 people and injuring 20.
- December 24, 2000 JI took part in a major coordinated terror
strike, the Christmas Eve 2000
- December 30, 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.
12, 2002 3 JI members are arrested in Manila carrying
plastic explosives in their
luggage. One of them is later jailed for 17 years.
- June 5, 2002 Indonesian authorities arrest Kuwaiti Omar al-Faruq. Handed over to the U.S. authorities, he subsequently confesses he is a
senior al-Qaeda operative sent to Southeast Asia to orchestrate attacks against
US interests. He reveals to investigators detailed plans of
a new terror spree in Southeast Asia.
many warnings by US authorities of a credible terrorist threat in
Jakarta, on September 23, 2002 a grenade explodes in a car near the
residence of a US embassy official in
Jakarta, killing one of the attackers.
- September 26, 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
- October 2, 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
- October 10, 2002 a bomb rips through a bus
terminal in the southern Philippine city of Kidapawan, killing six people and injuring 24. On the
same day The US 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.
- October 12, 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
- Bashir was arrested by the Indonesian police and was given a
light sentence for treason.
- Hambali was arrested in Thailand on August 11, 2003 and is currently in prison in
bomb manual published by the Jemaah Islamiah was used in the
terrorist bombing and the 2003 JW Marriott hotel
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
are widely suspected of being responsible for the bombing outside
the Australian embassy in Jakarta on 9 Sep 2004 which killed 11 Indonesians and
wounded over 160 more.
- They are also suspected of committing the October 1st 2005 Bali bombings.
- November 9, 2005, bomb-making expert and
influential figure in Indonesian terrorist organization, Azahari Husin was killed in a raid at Malang, East Java.
- August 5, 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."
- June 13, 2007 Abu
Dujana, the head of JI's military operations, is captured by
- June 15, 2007 Indonesian Police announced the capture of
Zarkasih, who was leading Jemaah Islamiah
since the capture of Hambali. Zarkasih is believe to be the emir of
- February 27, 2008 The leader of JI in
Singapore, Mas Selamat
Kastari, escaped from the Whitley Road Detention Centre at 1605
hours, local time.
1, 2009 Mas Selamat Kastari was recaptured in Johor, Malaysia.
- July 17, 2009 Jemaah Islamiah blamed for attacks on the Ritz
Carlton Jakarta and the J.W. Marriott hotels in Jakarta.
- September 17, 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
- 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.
- JI is also believed to be linked to the insurgent violence in
"Conspiracy of Silence: Who is Behind the
Escalating Insurgency in Southern Thailand?"
- head clue to Jakarta bomb BBC 2003-08-09
-  Sydney Morning Herald
- Abuza, Zachary. Militant Islam in Southeast Asia: Crucible
of Terror. Boulder, Colorado, USA: Lynne Rienner Publishers,
2003. ISBN 1-58826-237-5.
- Barton, Greg (2005). Jemaah Islamiyah: radical Islam in
Indonesia. Singapore: Singapore University Press. ISBN
- 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.