Religion plays the center part in Jemaah Islamiyah and the extremist religious interpretation is one of the methods of manipulation of the members. In fact, religious teaching is the first step in the recruiting process of almost all Muslim terrorist organizations. As it is the case of Jemaah Islamiyah, religious teachings organized for general audience represent the first stage of the recruitment process as it draws people that are easily manipulated by the extremist interpretation of religious beliefs and that soon become dedicated to jihad. The second stage of the recruitment process is identifying the ones that seem particularly interested in finding out more about the views presented by the teacher. Both of the founders of Jemaah were school teachers.
After identifying in religious education classes the ones that seemed more interested in learning more, the students are introduced to the organization and if they seem eager to be part of the organization, they go through a training period, which usually lasts 18 months, during which they are sent to training camps in Malaysia and Afghanistan. After the removal of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, terrorist organizations such as al-Qaeda and its affiliates had to find other places to set their camps. Such places are the islands of Mindanao in the Phillipines and Sulawesi in Indonesia.
Recruits are sent to these camps without anyone knowing where they are. Terrorist organizations in general operate with maximum discretion and members are often given code names and false documents and their families are unaware of their occupation. The training process includes religious, psychical and physical trainings. The first period is that of religious indoctrination and in which the member is prepared for whatever sacrifice he might have to do for his group. After that, the recruits are sent to training camps where they are taught how to use weapons, manufacture bombs and combat tactics.
Jemaah Islamiyah has in its manual, called "Pedoman Umum Perjuangan Jemaah Islamiyah" ("General Guidelines of the Struggle of Jemaah Islamiyah"), the main goal of the organization, that of creating a transnational Islamic state comprising Indonesia, Malaysia, and the southern Philippines. This is the main ideology of the organization, rooted in Darul Islam. However, this has changed in time or it became less important as the organization got more and more involved in international jihad.
Another influence in the organization's ideology is brought by Middle Eastern Islamic radicalism. This influence on the organization is the result of the connections of several Jemaah members with terrorist members of other groups such as al-Qaeda. A third influence that can be identified in the ideology of Jemaah is that of the Afghan Jihad brought by Afghan war veterans that were established in Indonesia and Malaysia. Hambali, a preeminent Jemaah member, was an Afghan war veteran. This influence established the link between Jemaah Islamiyah and al-Qaeda and is the main source of the involvement of the organization in the international jihad against U.S. And Western targets.
One of the tactics used in all terrorist organizations is that they provide a sense of appurtenance and stability to the members of the organization, so that they feel that they are part of an exclusive group where they are respected and treated as equals. This manipulation is extremely effective as most terrorist members feel rejected by society or they fell that they are not understood given their inclination towards radicalism. Being accepted in an organization that most of the times provide them everything they need gives members stability and offers them a great deal of comfort. Jemaah Islamiyah members are dedicated to the cause of the organization, are completely indoctrinated with religious teachings and sincerely believe in the ideology of the organization. Having this advantage over the members, many of them are convinced to become suicidal attackers being promised that they will become martyrs in return of their sacrifice for the greater purpose of the organization.
In recent years, Jemaah Islamiyah became even more committed to fighting the international holy war against U.S. And Western countries. Its involvement in terrorist attacks in U.S. And against Western targets is Southeast Asia shows the level of commitment the organization has in its fight against U.S. dominance. The link that exists between Muslim terrorist organizations irrespective of their location shows that terrorist organizations tend to globalize and so they will become even harder to track down. Jemaah Islamiyah is currently more dedicated to performing its role in the international jihad and this is the result of the influences that other Muslim organizations had in building the ideology of the organization.
As found on a violent Islamism website, the reasons for the Bali bombings for which Jemaah Islamiyah is directly responsible are entirely related to non-Muslim targets. The explanations given illustrate that the organization wanted to keep non-Muslim immoral tourists away from the region. The immoral activities of non-Muslims that came to Bali were considered insulting considering that that was a Muslim region in which Muslim values prevail. This response against the imperialist behavior of Western nations shows the commitment of the organization as part of the international jihad.
However, the response of the organization against the immoral attitudes of westerners that came to Bali is most definitely not done in a moral way. Here is where the Muslim ideology is interpreted in a radical manner that allows "true believers" to fight through whatever means against non-believers. The main target against which Jemaah and other Muslim terrorist organizations fight is U.S. And its perceived imperialist behavior. The fact that a Southeast Asian terrorist organization was partly involved in the 2001 attacks and directed attacks in the region against U.S. targets (even if they were tourists) shows that the ideology of the organization has somehow shifted towards the global fight against U.S..
Members are convinced that their involvement in terrorist attacks represent their redemption for their sins as they are fighting in the name of religion against those that do not respect it or follow it. "According to JI expert Zachary Abuza, the concept of purifying violence is central to the JI ideology. Religious violence is seen as an act of cleansing of sins, particularly important in the case of JI members who were formerly criminals and are seeking redemption."
The organization has a leader, which is called emir or spiritual leader, and the members are supposed to take an oath to the leader, swearing their complete dedication to the cause of the organization. Jemaah Islamiyah's leader, Bashir, is a very respected religious figure inside the organization. Although he was not directly involved in terrorist attacks, he was the figure that provided religious guidelines for the operations conducted by the organization. He allegedly approved the Christmas 2000 church bombings in Indonesia, in which over 100 people were killed and injured.
Currently, the organization is divided into two factions, one that is supporting terrorist attacks and a violent response against their perceived enemies, and one that is supporting a long-term strategy targeting the creation of a Muslim state in Southeast Asia. Some analysts believe that this separation inside the organization has damaged its powers and that it might not be as effective as it originally was. In fact, although the organization is going through changes, it should be just as concerning the fact that there is a faction that supports terrorist attacks.
One element that Jemaah Islamiyah introduced in the region and that is characteristic to other Muslim organizations such as al-Qaeda is the suicide bombings. Terrorist groups that operated in the region before the creation of Jemaah did not use suicide bombings, although their attacks were violent and often. However, the fact that this organization was very much influenced even since its beginnings by other Muslim terrorist organizations and the fact that it was based on radical religious interpretation brought a new element in the regional attack mode. In the Bali attacks, a suicide bomber carried a bomb in his backpack in a crowded club. The three bombing attacks in Bali represent the biggest terrorist attack in Indonesia and the one with the greatest number of victims. The fact that suicide attacks were used in these bombings represents the obvious influence of Middle Easter Muslim terrorist groups. Two other attacks conducted by Jemaah Islamiah also point towards the influence of Middle Eastern tactics. The 2003 bombing at the J.W. Marriot Hotel in Jakarta and the 2004 car explosion in front of the Australian embassy were both directed against foreign tourists, mainly Western or connected with Western countries, and they were both carried out in the manner of Middle Eastern terrorist attacks.
As it is the case of most terrorist organizations, the financing system of Jemaah Islamiah is very complex and complicated due to the underground activities of the organization. One of the leading figures of the organization, Hambali, established a palm oil export company that was created to cover funds that support terrorist activities. Another member that also played an important part in creating…