A Handbook of Terrorism and Insurgency in Southeast Asia
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A Handbook of Terrorism and Insurgency in Southeast Asia

  • Elgar original reference

Edited by Andrew T.H. Tan

This timely and significant book seeks to explain the deep-seated complexities of terrorism and insurgency in Southeast Asia. In the aftermath of 9/11, this region has been designated by the United States to be the ‘second front’ in the war on terrorism. Yet despite the emergence of this ‘new’ global terrorism, the authors argue that armed rebellion in Southeast Asia is a phenomenon that predates Al Qaeda and the global Jihadist movement and that much can be learned from the motivations behind it.
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Chapter 4: Militant Java-based Islamist Movements

Greg Fealy

Extract

4 Militant Java-based Islamist movements Greg Fealy Islam in Java has commonly been seen as peaceful, tolerant and benign. Numerous scholars have commented approvingly of its tradition of blending of Islamic elements with pre-existing Hindu, Buddhist and autochthonous beliefs and practices. Many have also written that the main cultures on the island emphasize smooth personal interactions and the avoidance of conflict, leading to the conclusion that Java’s Islamic community is not disposed to violent jihad. While this favourable characterization is true for a large majority of Java’s Muslims, it does not capture the breadth of Islamic ideologies and behaviour on the island, either historically or contemporaneously. Indeed, this benign view has masked two important aspects of Java’s Islam community: first, that syncretistic and heterodox Islam can also be militant; and second, that there is a long history of fundamentalist, exclusivist and intolerant behaviour among a small minority of the island’s Muslims. These elements have been manifest in various insurgent and terrorist campaigns undertaken by militant Islamic groups on Java. Thus, as with so many aspects of Java, its Islamic culture is far more complex than the generalizations suggest. A number of examples will serve to illustrate this point. The Darul Islam (DI) movement has been active on Java for more than half a century. It is religiously heterodox, combining Islamic elements with local folk beliefs, and also has a strong mystical inclination. During the 1950s and early 1960s, DI members rebelled against the central Indonesian government and fought with...

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