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Indonesia's Sputtering Jihadist Movement Motors On

Apr 7, 2017 | 09:15 GMT
Terrorism threat in Indonesia
Since an attack in Jakarta in January 2016, jihadist violence in Indonesia has been sporadic, lacking the sophistication of previous attacks in the country. But jihadist fighters returning from abroad may change that equation.
(ROMEO GACAD/AFP/Getty Images)

Governments around the world are grappling with the threat of jihadist violence. And though Indonesia is no stranger to this struggle, its domestic jihadist movement pales in comparison with those in the Middle East or even elsewhere in Southeast Asia. Wahhabism, the hard-line, conservative strain of Islam that underpins extremist groups such as al Qaeda and the Islamic State, hasn't caught on in the world's most-populous Muslim-majority country, home to more than 250 million people. In fact, Indonesia has contributed only a few hundred fighters to the Islamic State's efforts in Iraq and Syria -- fewer than Russia or France. Nevertheless, the island nation has suffered its share of terrorist attacks over the years. Jemaah Islamiyah, a militant group with ties to al Qaeda, staged several devastating attacks across Indonesia throughout the 2000s, including a 2004 bombing at the Australian Embassy in Jakarta. A splinter faction carried out similarly deadly strikes...

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