Columbia International Affairs Online: Policy Briefs

CIAO DATE: 12/2012

Terrorism in Perspective: An Assessment of 'Jihad Project' Trends in Indonesia

Julie Chernov Hwang

September 2012

East-West Center


The face of extremism in Indonesia has changed dramatically over the past decade. While the security threat from Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) and other Salafi-Jihadist groups remains, it has diminished significantly from its heyday in the early 2000s. With many hardline leaders now in prison or dead and current mainstream leaders reluctant to support terror attacks, violence as a means to establish an Islamic state appears to be losing favor in militant circles. New followers continue to be radicalized through a number of channels, but there are also former radicals who are disengaging as they grow disillusioned with movement tactics and leadership, as they develop new relationships, and as their priorities shift. The organized, large-scale bombings have declined, largely in response to a changing security environment. Small-scale attacks and targeted assassinations are still prevalent, but these are often the actions of small splinter groups or unaffiliated individuals. Within JI itself, support for terror attacks on Indonesian soil is increasingly a minority-held view.