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Australian Government - Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Advancing the interests of Australia and Australians internationally

Australian Government - Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Advancing the interests of Australia and Australians internationally

Transnational Terrorism: The Threat to Australia

Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, 2004

ISBN 1 920959 04 1

Information Sheet 4:   Jemaah Islamiyah

  • Jemaah Islamiyah exemplifies the evolution of Muslim militancy in South-East Asia.   From origins in a separatist movement in Indonesia, it has evolved into an extremist organisation with links to Al Qaida and is strongly influenced by Usama Bin Laden's ideology and methodology.  
  • The threat posed by Jemaah Islamiyah is compounded by its development as a network that ignores national boundaries.   It stretches over several countries in the region and has formed links with other Muslim extremist groups to further its goals.
  • In the southern Philippines, Jemaah Islamiyah has established links with elements of two local militant Muslim insurgency groups, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the Abu Sayyaf Group.   Other sub-national groups in the region have adopted more violent methods as a result of their links to radical Muslim movements.
  • South-East Asian extremism took a leap forward when militant Muslim groups decided to send recruits to training camps in Afghanistan and Pakistan from the mid-1980s.  
  • Around 1000 South-East Asian Muslims are believed to have received military training in Afghanistan.   On their return, the recruits formed a natural, transnational network that is extensive and well entrenched.   This network is at the heart of the terrorist threat in South-East Asia.   Many of the key leaders of radical Muslim groups in the region attended training camps in Afghanistan.
  • Other forces are at play in the spread of extremism in South-East Asia.   A significant number of young South-East Asians have attended religious schools at home and in South Asia and the Middle East that teach a strict interpretation of the Quran with a strong emphasis on militancy.
  • South-East Asia's information technology revolution has also hastened the spread of external influences, including extremist ideology.   International television and information available on the Internet have led to a greater identification with Muslims in conflicts around the world.   They have inspired and shaped the behaviour of radical Muslims in South-East Asia.

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade