October 10, 2005

Summary of ICG report on Dar ul-Islam, Part 2: The Usroh Movement

Continuing from my earlier summary of the International Crisis Group (ICG) report on Dar ul-Islam, the section focuses particularly on how the usroh (family) activist movement helped to regenerate Dar ul-Islam in Indonesia. Abdullah Sungkar, who is referenced repeatedly here, is the actual founder of Jemaah Islamiyah, with the now-incarcerated Abu Bakar Bashir taking up the leadership of the group after his death.

Usroh and the regeneration of Dar ul-Islam

* The Dar ul-Islam offshoots in Jakarta and other parts of Java produced a literal explosion of jihadis due to using popular anger at the Suharto government and the availability of first guerrilla and then terrorist training in Afghanistan. Another recruiting technique, known as usroh (family) was pioneered by Hassan al-Banna, the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood. Al-Banna's belief was to gather 10-15 people prepared to live according to the principles of sha'riah, with each usroh serving as a building block for the eventual establishment of an Islamic state. In Indonesia, the first proponents of usroh were activists in the Coordinating Body of Indonesian Mosque Youth (Badan Koordinasi Pemuda Masjid Indonesia, BKPMI) based at Istiqomah Mosque in Bandung. BKPMI members were divided between adherents and non-adherents of Dar ul-Islam, with the Dar ul-Islam members looking to Aceng Kurnia as their mentor and being members of the Indonesian Islamic Students' Organization (Pelajar Islam Indonesia, PII) or the Islamic Youth Movement (Gerakan Pemuda Islam, GPI). 2 BKPMI students obtained a copy of al-Banna's Arabic writings and translated it into Bahasa Indonesian, making it the standard reference book for the group.

* From Istiqomah Mosque, the idea of usroh spread out to other mosques in Bandung, particularly taking root at the Salman Mosque, which was heavily attended by students at the Bandung Institute of Technology (BIT). Mursalin Dahlan, a PII/GPI member, introduced the concept to Dar ul-Islam members in Yogyakarta who included Irfan and Fihiruddin Awwas (Abu Jibril) and Muchliansyah, all of whom would later become prominent members of the Indonesian Mujahideen Council. All three were students of JI leaders Abdullah Sungkar and Abu Bakar Bashir and they began using usroh as part of their own recruiting and training programs. These Dar ul-Islam members and others like them living in Jakarta and East Java had been cut off from the movement's leadership as a result of their imprisonment and also favored a more rigorous approach to Islam that much of the Dar ul-Islam old guard was unfamiliar and uncomfortable with. Religious study sessions also provided a forum where resentment against Suharto could be expressed during a time when his determination to crush political Islam was increasing. The usroh adherents proved so popular that in 1980 they formed the Society for Indonesian Islamic Development (Badan Pembangunan Muslimin Indonesia, BPMI) based at Jl.Menteng Raya No.58, the headquarters of the GPI.

* With Nunung Nur ul-Ichsan of Jakarta as their leader and Mursalin Dahlan as secretary-general, BPMI turned the pesantren kilat into 3 or 4-day courses aimed at the youth, particularly university students. Participants could "graduate" and continue their studies in usroh program, during which they would be inducted into Dar ul-Islam. So many people were drawn into BPMI that nearly every day induction programs were taking up their entire schedules. BPMI soon opened branches across Java and in February 1981, Mohammed Achwan (later arrested for involvement in the Christmas Eve church bombings in Malang in 1984) was installed by Dahlan as the head of the Malang chapter. During his 1986 trials, prosecutors argued that the Malang chapter of BPMI held regular meetings to discuss the overthrow of the government and the creation of an Islamic theocracy, but found a responsive audience by the end of 1981, with 93 new Dar ul-Islam members inducted in Malang alone after 3 pesantren kilat sessions.

* The usroh adherents operated outside the formal structures of fisabilillah Dar ul-Islam and its relationship with the formal movement varied from place to place, with ties particularly strong in West and Central Java where Abdullah Sungkar was based and his students were in charge of local usroh adherents. In Jakarta, relations were strained because the local Dar ul-Islam infrastructure was one of the few that maintained a successful recruiting program in the form of the Jakarta Muballigh Corps (Korp Muballigh Jakarta) to compete with the usroh followers for the same groups of people. The Jakarta Dar ul-Islam were loyal to Adah Djalani while the Bandung-based usroh leaders followed Aceng Kurnia. There were also doctrinal differences, with the Jakarta Dar ul-Islam following the reformist teachings of Isa Bugis that were an anathema to the more zealous Wahhabis. But whether the Dar ul-Islam old guard liked it or not, the usroh followers transformed their movement and gave it new activists along with a renewed sense of energy and purpose. It was a means to their end of overthrowing Suharto and establishing an Islamic theocracy and as their ranks swelled with new recruits the goal seemed all that more reasonable, particularly given recent events in Iran.

* In 1981, Dar ul-Islam usroh activists made contact with a group of political dissidents from the Jakarta political and military elite, all of whom were signatories of "Petition 50," a document they had sent to President Suharto demanding greater political freedom. Most of the signatories wanted nothing to do with Dar ul-Islam, but a few including former cabinet minister Ir. Sanusi were interested in meeting with Mursalin Dahlan and others to make plans for the removal of Suharto.

* For Mursalin, the success of the Iranian Revolution wasn't merely an inspiration but also a model for how to seize power in Indonesia in a 7-point plan:

1. In Iran, the political situation had degenerated to the point where the Shah was forced to flee. In Indonesia, Mursalin planned to create the same situations for the Suharto regime, though he was more interested in eliminating him than in forcing him to flee.

2. In Iran, minister Bazargan assumed the presidency following the Shah's departure. In Indonesia, once Suharto was dead it was believed that Vice President Adam Malik would seize power.

3. In Iran, Ayatollah Khomeini had appeared. In Indonesia, a coalition of nationalists, disaffected military officers, and Muslim activists would quickly form.

4. Whereas the Iranian masses had taken to the streets to support Ayatollah Khomeini, in Indonesia the masses would take to the streets to support the coalition.

5. In Iran, the security forces were consolidated and purged to service the new regime, just as would be the case in Indonesia.

6. In Iran, Khomeini then assumed power, whereas in Indonesia a democracy would be declared and free and fair elections would take place.

7. In Iran, Khomeini declared the establishment of an Islamic Republic, while in Indonesia the Islamic parties would sweep the elections and then declare their own Islamic theocracy.

* Mursalin's plan could not be implemented until Suharto was dead, so he began to plan for his assassination, assembling 6-man hit team in August 1982 with the intention of killing him with a bomb either by hurling it as his car after he returned from golfing in east Jakarta or in planting a bomb along a railway crossing near his home.

* In September 1982, a meeting was held at the offices of the ar-Risalah newsletter between Mursalin, Sanusi, Muchlianyah, Fihiruddin (Abu Jibril), Mohammed Achwan, and several others including Agung Riyadi (currently in Malaysian custody on suspicions of JI membership) to continue planning to assassinate Suharto. They discussed intensifying training in the pesantren kilats across Central and East Java in the view that these graduates would later be brought to Jakarta as the nucleus of a popular uprising. To facilitate this training and standardize teaching materials, Mursalin and the other usroh leaders set up the Institute for Education and Development of Pesantren Kilat (Lembaga Pendidikan Pengembangan Pesantren Kilat, LP3K) in December 1982.

* When both assassination plots failed to pan out, the conspirators set their sights on Suharto's planned February 1983 visit to Central Java to preside over a ceremony marking the restoration of Borobodur, an 8th century Buddhist temple outside Yogyakarta. This plan fell apart when the conspirators failed to find a way to hide the explosives inside the temple and by the end of 1983 the dream of an Iranian-style revolution had faded and the authorities began cracking down on usroh followers in Central Java.


* Most usroh leaders from this period continue to be politically active, with several of those arrested in Central Java later going on to found the Majlis Mujahideen Indonesia (MMI), an organization founded in 2000 to press for the application of sha'riah law. By virtue of their imprisonment, these adherents were unable to join the jihad in Afghanistan and hence were far less likely to become members of Jemaah Islamiyah than their counterparts who fled to Jakarta in order escape arrest. With most of the usroh leadership arrested, underground, or abroad by 1985-1986, the followers of fisabilillah Dar ul-Islam now had to decide what to do with hundreds of youths who had been recruited by the movement. Over time, most of them were eventually reabsorbed into the Dar ul-Islam regional command structure.

Usroh in Jakarta

* Even before the crackdown in Central Java began, Abdullah Sungkar sent several of his most trusted cadres to work with the usroh activists in Jakarta. 3 in particular played a role in the radicalization of the Dar ul-Islam followers there: Ibu Thoyib (Abu Fatah), who later became the head of Jemaah Islamiyah's Mantiqi II; Muchliansyah (Solihin), a fiery preacher who fled to Malaysia with Abdullah Sungkar and Abu Bakar Bashir and has remained active on the fringes of Jemaah Islamiyah ever since; and Ahmad Furzon (Broto, Ustadz Ahmad), a preacher and a follower of the Dar ul-Islam leader Ajengan Masduki, who would be instrumental in recruiting Indonesian jihadis to fight in Afghanistan. The usroh group they set up in Condet, East Jakarta, and later in Pasar Santa, South Jakarta, drew in many young men to their ranks who continue to be active in Jemaah Islamiyah to this day. These networks became known as the Condet Ring and the Santa Ring (with "ring" signifying that they operated outside the ninth komando wilayah structure that covered Jakarta but rather to the second komando wilayah in Central Java.

* The Condet Ring consisted of high school students, vegetable sellers, and drivers, making it a real social mixture even though members of other usroh groups tended to exist at more or less the same socio-economic level. The Santa Ring was made up largely of gang members who joined as a way of protecting themselves from petrus (pembunuhan misterius, the Indonesian government program charged with overseeing the extra-judicial killing of suspected criminals, whose bodies were then left to rot on the side of the road). Some Salafist preachers from the Tanjung Priok port area of Jakarta also joined the Santa Ring, as did students attending Islamic schools in the area where meetings were held. The student dormitories were top recruiting areas for the Santa Ring and some students also traveled from Pondok Ngruki to take part in the movement, with the total number of participants estimated at around 100.

* In 1986, the Santa Ring was shaken by an incident in which 2 of its gang members, including Muchliansyah's bodyguards, killed the driver of a main benefactor of the Jakarta usroh movement after he refused to repay a debt. This incident led to the exposure and dissolution of the Santa Ring at the hands of the authorities, prompting the group to splinter into 3 parts. Some members joined Abdullah Sungkar and Abu Bakar Bashir in exile in Malaysia, while a second group led by Broto continued to function as part of the Dar ul-Islam movement and began recruiting jihadis for Afghanistan in 1986-1987, and a third group led by Nur Hidayat regrouped in Ancol, North Jakarta in 1987 and attempted a Dar ul-Islam uprising in Lampung in 1987. Members of all 3 groups have appeared in various roles in jihadi organizations.

Broto's Group

* The careers of 4 jihadis give some idea how important Broto's group is for understanding the history of Jemaah Islamiyah: Slamet Widodo was arrested in Jakarta in 2003 for membership in the Jemaah Islamiyah special forces team planning to target public buildings and foreign assets, Ahmad Sajuli is under detention in Malaysia under the Internal Security Act (ISA) for Jemaah Islamiyah-related activities, Karsidi is imprisoned in Central Java for working with a Dar ul-Islam member to sell military-grade ammo for use in the sectarian conflict in Ambon, while Yoyok is a Jakarta gang leader who founded the AMIN organization in 1999, members of which have been involved in violent acts in Jakarta, Ambon, and Poso. While neither Karsidi or Yoyok were Jemaah Islamiyah members themselves, they were in touch with or worked alongside people who were. This suggests that it would be useful investigate those Dar ul-Islam members who remained active in Condet and remained loyal to Ajengan Masduki rather than going to fight in Afghanistan if one wishes to fully appreciate the broader network within which Jemaah Islamiyah operates.

Slamet Widodo (Pepen, Urwah)

* Joined an usroh group in Cempaka Putih, East Jakarta at the age of 18 while still in high school in 1984. The group, mostly made up of fairly poor young men in their 20s, was led by a man named Mubasir whose younger brother and brother-in-law were also members of the group. After the dissolution of the Santa Ring, he joined another usroh group in Sumur Batu, Jakarta, this one led by a student at the Mohammediyyah Technical College named Jamal. During his interrogation 16 years later, Slamet remembered the names of 5 other students and laborers who attended the group with him, but also Broto, who he described as about 35.

* During his time in the usroh group, Slamet participated in pengajian Negara Islam Indonesia (study for the creation of an Islamic theocracy in Indonesia) sessions and during one such session in 1989, Broto offered Slamet a chance to participate in the jihad in Afghanistan and within a week he had a passport and was well on his way via Malaysia. He remained in Afghanistan for 2 years, working briefly at a Pakistani repair shop and becoming involved in the construction of the Lukman ul-Hakim pesantren, which served as the chief Jemaah Islamiyah base in Johore. Returning to Jakarta in 1993, he began trading in used electronic goods, a business he remained in until the time of his arrest. After his return, he began attending religious meetings at the Jemaah Islamiyah-controlled Suprapto-Suparno Mosque in East Jakarta, though he only returned to active membership in Jemaah Islamiyah in 2000. Thus, while he remained in contact with other "Afghan Indonesians" and Condet Ring alumni, he was effectively "on leave" from jihad for 7 years and was only recalled to up for active duty in 2000. He was arrested in 2003 after being trained as a member of the new special forces unit by Jemaah Islamiyah's Mantiqi II.

Ahmad Sajuli

* Another Jemaah Islamiyah member who began his career in the Condet Ring and was arrested in 2001 in Malaysia, Sajuli was a high school student in his early 20s in Kelapa Gading, North Jakarta, where he attended religious discussions at the Arif Rahman Hakim Mosque at the University of Indonesia and the Solihin Mosque in Tanjung Priok. Through these mosques he met up with Broto in 1984, who invited him to take part in the Condet Ring meetings. According to him, the discussions at the Condet Ring focused on the history of Dar ul-Islam in Indonesia and how Kartosuwirjo had filled a political void when Sukarno had lacked the necessary courage. In 1986, Sajuli and 13 other jihadis were sent by Broto to Afghanistan, later returning in 1987 and moving to Malaysia in 1988-1989.

Karsidi (Mansur, Atang)

* Now 42, Karsidi was close to the founders of the Condet Ring and was a distributor of ar-Risalah, edited by Irfan Awwas Suryahardy of the Majlis Mujahideen Indonesia. After the Condet Ring split up, Karsidi tried to form his own cell, though whether or not he considered it an active part of Dar ul-Islam is unclear. He was also involved in the founding of AMIN and was arrested in what appears to have been a sting operation. On April 2, 2003, police stopped a vehicle in Banyumas near the border between Central and West Java, finding 4,000 rounds of ammo produced at the military munitions factory in PT Pindad, Bandung, and some Dar ul-Islam literature. The men arrested were Karsidi, who was then living in Bekasi near Jakarta, Dadang Hafiz from Cicendo, Bandung, and his older brother Endang Rukmana from Cimahi, Bandung.

* Dadang Hafiz was the member of an usroh group in Bandung who had been detained for several months in connection with the failed Lampung uprising in 1989, where he became close with the imprisoned Dar ul-Islam notables including Kartosuwirjo's son Dodo, Ajengan Kecil, and Emeng Abdurahman, making connections that enabled him to become active in the seventh komando wilayah. He is also the teacher of the Jemaah Islamiyah leader Abu Dujana, who went to fight in Afghanistan at his recommendation. Known within Islamist circles as an arms dealer with ties to the oknum (renegades) in the Indonesian military that helped him to secure the ammo from PT Pindad. If Jemaah Islamiyah's leaders ever needed weapons, they could easily turn to Dadang to obtain them.


* A gang leader from North Jakarta who joined the Condet Ring after meeting Broto, he joined the group for protection from petrus but was also impressed by Broto's religious knowledge. Broto trusted Yoyok, making him his treasurer in the Dar ul-Islam Jakarta network at the same level as Muchliansyah (Solihin), whose credentials in the movement were far stronger. In mid-1985, Broto offered Yoyok a chance to go to Afghanistan, but he was getting married and decided to stay behind and help with the logistics instead. That decision kept him on the Ajengan Masduki side of the schism with Abdullah Sungkar several years later.

* In 1998, Yoyok began sending jihadis to Mindanao for training at the behest of Ajengan Masduki. These recruits were some of the most extreme Dar ul-Islam members in Jakarta, including Achmad, Pikar (Zulfikar), Annas, Agus, and Asadullah. Led by Asadullah and Yoyok, these trainees formed AMIN (Angkatan Mujahideen Islam Nusantara) in 1999 after the fighting in Ambon broke out. Yoyok never joined Jemaah Islamiyah, but he remains a gang leader and is still in touch with his old associates.

Nur Hidayat's Group

* In 1987, Nur Hidayat managed to reunite a number of the old Condet and Santa ring members in what became known as the Ancol Ring, after Ancol, North Jakarta, where most of the meetings took place. Meetings of 8-10 members were held in different homes, discussing the ideology of Dar ul-Islam and its conception of iman-hijrah-jihad, Koranic study, and then a discussion of the meeting. At the conclusion of the meeting, each member would recite the Koranic verses assigned to them at the previous meeting, with those who forgot having to do push-ups or pay a small fine. The meeting concluded at midnight and all of the participants would sleep in the home where it occurred, waking for prayers at 3 am, going back to sleep, and then awakening again for morning prayers.

* The Ancol Ring was far more egalitarian than its Condet counterpart, with no imam or hierarchy. But with 6 months it schismed between the followers of Abdul Haris who wanted to adopt the model of the Muslim Brotherhood and those of Nur Hidayat who favored a more militant course. In mid-April 1988, Nur Hidayat, Fauzi Isman, Wahidin, and Zaenal Abidin decided to use violence to impose sha'riah, get in touch with the other usroh groups led by Abdullah Sungkar, and get in touch with other Dar ul-Islam leaders and members who held to a similar vision to make the movement stronger, more practical, and more efficient than ever before.

* Their plans for setting up an "Islamic village" in Lampung in 1988-1989 and starting an uprising went tragically awry, but the Lampung base attracted a large group of Ngruki alumni and followers of Abdullah Sungkar as well as reaching out to the older generation of Dar ul-Islam leaders to see the movement could be revived again. The Ngruki link in Lampung was a direct result of the government crackdown in 1984-1985 on the usroh movement that Sungkar and Bashir had set up in Central Java. Beginning in late 1985, several members of the movement fled to Lampung to escape arrest and fell under the protection of the Javanese religious teacher Warsidi. By 1988, Warsidi led them to set up their own pesantren in Cihideung, Talangsari, Lampung to create an "Islamic village." At least one member of his group stayed in touch with other usroh followers in Jakarta and at a meeting on December 12, 1988 Warsidi and Nur Hidayat decided to join forces. They would all make hijrah to Lampung with Nur Hidayat as their leader, where they would set up a utopian Islamic community that would serve not only as a center of sha'riah and "Islamic economics" but also a center for jihad training. All the major Dar ul-Islam factions sent representatives to a meeting at the Cihideung pesantren on February 15, 1989. New leaders and a more permanent organization for the village were then selected.

* While Nur Hidayat insisted his motives were peaceful when interviewed in 2000, others present at the Cihideung meeting saw things quite differently. According to them, Lampung was to be the base for a new Dar ul-Islam uprising as soon as the jihadis had gained sufficient numbers and strength. One attendee noted that he had been asked by a Dar ul-Islam contact to get in touch with Indonesian mujahideen who had just returned from Afghanistan to see if they could provide military training. While the attendee refused at the time, believing it was too risky, by 2003 the same attendee was now a Jemaah Islamiyah member who had been arrested in connection with Marriott bombing.

* After the Cihideung meeting, members of both groups were dispatched to contact other former Dar ul-Islam members and convince them to rejoin the movement or at least visit the Cihideung pesantren in December 1988 and January 1989. The Warsidi group agreed to get in touch with Dar ul-Islam members in Lampung and Central Java, while Nur Hidayat sent representatives to Ajengan Kecil, Bardan Kintarto (who had been arrested at the time of the Komando Jihad raids there), Gaos Tawfiq (released from prison in 1987), Kahar Muzakkar's followers in Makassar, students at the Hidayatullah pesantren in Gunung Tembak, and Abdul Ghani Masykur.

* 10 years after the failure of Komando Jihad, there was little interest in reviving Dar ul-Islam except in Lombok and Sumbawa, where the local Dar ul-Islam members agreed to send representatives to Cihideung though none ever arrived. Warsidi's activities by this time had come to the attention of local officials, who summoned him for questioning in January 1989. After he failed to arrive, a group of military and police officers were sent to the pesantren on February 6, where they were attacked with arrows and the subdistrict military commander was killed. The next day, the regional military commander Hendropriyono led an attack on the school in which dozens of students were killed and the latest incarnation of Dar ul-Islam was destroyed. When reflecting on their failure, former followers of Nur Hidayat reflected that he was a fool to seek out the old Dar ul-Islam leaders after so many of them had been compromised by Indonesian intelligence.

* While Nur Hidayat and his followers were inspired by Dar ul-Islam and saw themselves as working towards an Islamic theocracy, their links to the "real" Dar ul-Islam were rather tenuous. Warsidi had been inducted into the organization by Ajengan Masduki, who had strong connections in Lampung, and Abdul Qadir Baraja's 12 year-old son was among the students killed during the attack on the pesantren. While Warsidi's followers consisted mostly of young usroh adherents who were linked to Abdullah Sungkar, the eighth komando wilayah of Dar ul-Islam that oversaw Lampung never embraced their activities.


* There may be a lesson here as to how Jemaah Islamiyah schisms emerge: the Young Turks of a Jemaah Islamiyah subdivision (wakalah), inspired by the group's earlier exploits, could plan and carry out an operation in the name of the organization without the endorsement or expertise of its senior leadership. But while the only weapons that Nur Hidayat had at his disposal were arrows, any over-zealous members of Jemaah Islamiyah will have access to guns and bombs.

* There are 2 points worth noting in relation to Jemaah Islamiyah. First, it has been a feature of the various efforts to revive Dar ul-Islam that many of those imprisoned after a failed revolt are not chastened by their imprisonment and normally make some attempt to try again in a different form, sometimes with different allies. This means that jihadi groups know or at least believe that those now imprisoned will be available at some point in the future and will have no compunctions about asking them to rejoin the jihad upon their release. Nur Hidayat, for instance, claims that he was contacted by Jemaah Islamiyah about taking part in the 2000 Christmas Eve bombings but declined and that he was far from the only one. Secondly, Lampung often emerges as an important base in Dar ul-Islam and later Jemaah Islamiyah:

- In 1976, it was a staging ground for Komando Jihad.

- Abdul Qadir Baraja, whose book on jihad was circulating Ngruki around the time of the founding of Komando Jihad, was a Dar ul-Islam leader then and continues to operate there to this day.

- Musa Warman of Komando Jihad started his Dar ul-Islam career in Lampung.

- Dar ul-Islam leaders met in Lampung in 1989 to decide on a new imam.

- Usroh adherents fleeing persecution found refuge among the Javanese immigrants in Lampung.

- Timsar Zubil, who was arrested in 1977 for his membership in Komando Jihad, settled in Lampung upon his release from prison.

- It is not clear when Jemaah Islamiyah set up a wakalah in Lampung, but the Dar ul-Islam movement in the region was affected by the schism between Sungkar and Masduki in 1991-1992. The Masduki faction was led by PT Cipta Niaga employee Abi Surachman, who succeeded Baraja as the leader of Dar ul-Islam in Lampung after his arrest in connection with the 1985 Borobodur bombings. The Sungkar faction (later Jemaah Islamiyah) was led by Iliyas Liwa of Sulawesi and his successor Utomo (Abu Faruq) and the split was not just over which leader was more desireable but also over religious issues. The Masduki faction believed that as long as they were living in enemy territory it was not mandatory to pray 5 times a day but that the morning and noon prayers could be merged for tactical reasons. For the Dar ul-Islam members who were becoming more and more influenced by Salafism, this view was anathema and many of them joined together with Sungkar's followers in Solo to create the nucleus of Jemaah Islamiyah in Lampung.

- Utomo (Abu Faruq) was a prominent member of the Lampung Jemaah Islamiyah and was originally from Trenggelek, East Java. While studying in 1985 at the same university where Warman had shot the assistant rector 6 years earlier, he met Ibu Thoyib (Abu Fatah), later the head of Jemaah Islamiyah's Mantiqi II, who inducted him into Dar ul-Islam. Abu Fatah also sent him to join the jihad in Afghanistan, where he became close to Thoriquddin (Abu Rusdan). After his return, he traveled to Solo but in 1988 fled to Lampung because he was told that Central Java was no longer safe.

- Jihadis from Lampung were being sent to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front's (MILF) Camp Hudaibiyah in Mindanao in 1999 and that a wakalah in Lampung was still active as of 2002. In late 2002 and early 2003, some members of the Lampung wakalah's military wing were being sent to train for the new Jemaah Islamiyah special forces unit that was being set up by Mantiqi II.

- By 2003, Lampung was still considered the 3rd most important Jemaah Islamiyah stronghold after Central and East Java.

- Several important meetings were held in Lampung in June 2003 to plan for the Marriott hotel bombing.

Posted by at October 10, 2005 03:33 AM | TrackBack (2)

well, I finally got around to starting to read the ICG report in question, and it comes as no surprise to find that Darling distorts its meaning to fit his own far-right wing agenda. The distortions start at with the first sentence of the summary....

* After the September 2004 bombing of the Australian embassy in Jakarta, evidence soon emerged that JI leaders Azahari bin Husin and Noordin Mohammed Top were involved.

nowhere in the report are Azhari and Noordin identified as "leaders" of JI, "members" is the term most frequently used to describe their affiliation with this particular group.

Darling's primary thrust is an attempt to cast Darul Islam, which has been the framework for those who advocate the establishment of an Islamic state in Indonesia, as a "terrorist" threat.

(Of course, this is consistent with the goals of all of Darling's (second hand) propaganda efforts. That goal can be simplified as convincing people that Islamic nationalism is inherently terroristic. )

But an unbiased reading of the ICG report provides a far different picture of DI -- that of a "traditional" indigenous military and political rebellion that existed for most of its history more as an idea than as an actual coherent, independent organization. For long stretches of time, DI has been leaderless during periods of the government's efforts to supress it, and was severely compromised by the Indonesia government itself during the period when it worked with the Indonesian Secret Police to wipe out the Indonesian Communist Party.

This history has inevitably resulted in the formation of "splinter groups" that arose from DI itself --- some of which are completely non-violent, others (such as Jemaah Islamaya) which have evolved into "radical terrorist" organizations.

Darling's subtle (and no so subtle) distortions designed to discredit DI are found throughout the piece -- one glaring example concerns fa'i, which Darling describes as....

"(criminal activity, usually robbery, to raise money for jihad) that is now practiced by all members of the movement including JI. This reliance on fa'i has led to the creation of a symbiotic relationship between the Indonesian criminal movement on one end and JI on the other. "

but which the ICQ describes as:

"robbing non-believers as a
way of raising funds for jihad, a practice adopted by
virtually all DI offshoots and splinters, including JI. The
reliance on fa'i meant that from the beginning in
Indonesia there has been a symbiotic relationship
between petty criminals and thugs on the one hand, and
mujahidin on the other. The latter get badly needed
resources, the former can repent and be absolved of sins
while using their skills to commit the same kind of
crimes for a new purpose. Fa'i has become a standard
part of the JI fund-raising repertoire."

Note how ICG's statement that fa'i "has become a standard part of the JI fund-raising repetoire" morphs into "criminal activity...that is now practiced by all members of the movement...." and how a relationship with petty criminals and thugs described by ICG is presented by Darling as a relationship with the Indonesia criminal movement. Note also that Darling's description of fa'i leaves out the fact that it is non-believers who are robbed. (In Islam, "fa'i" is the expropriation of property from an enemy without a formal war---1/5 of which is devoted to "God and His Apostle".)

The ICG's presentation of DI as an organization that tolerated the activities of petty criminals toward "infidels" as long as they "double-tithed" to DI is completely distorted by Darling, who presents DI essentially as the equivalent of the Mafia whose members hide behind a veneer of religion.

Darling gets away with these distortions because most people won't bother to check his "research" against the facts. Darling isn't an "expert" or even an "informed observer" --- his efforts are purely propangandistic.

Posted by: p.lukasiak at October 10, 2005 03:05 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I just have a minor quibble - Dan, could you link to large chunks of quoted material, rather than generating large posts?

Posted by: Barry at October 10, 2005 09:38 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I just have a minor quibble - Dan, could you link to large chunks of quoted material, rather than generating large posts?

this is a really good question, and there is one obvious answer....

simply linking to the ICG report would not suit Dan's purpose here, which is to propagandize by distorting the ICG report in his "summaries" in a way that advances his own agenda. In fact, Dan has done little more than paraphrase the ICG in a manner that would be considered plagarism were it not for his distortions.

Posted by: p.lukasiak at October 10, 2005 10:25 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Thanks Dan,

Regardless of Luka's knee jerk reaction, this is a useful piece of information, regardless of any distortions which ALWAYS occur when people discuss such material. Which I hasten to add is simply a result of intepretation being coloured by ones ideolgical position rather than Luka's suggested deliberate twisting of facts to suit an agenda - Luka interpretation would have been just as distorted by his own viewpoint on the matter.

As an aside - Luka I find you often have useful things to say, you're as fond of allowing rhetoric and your own ideological viewpoint to colour your posts - which lessens the room for an objective debate - and I will add somethign you often accuse your ideological opponents of.

Anyway, Dan for someone based in the South Pacific this is a useful piece of information concerning the rise of Islamic militancy in Indonesia, which has a much more present impact for me - even outside of Australia in which the issue is even more pertinant

Do you have any information on Islamic Militancy in Malaysia??

Posted by: Aran Brown at October 12, 2005 04:20 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink
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