Fighting Terror Among the Believers

The flames of Islamic fundamentalism are not confined to the Middle East and Central Asia. Indonesia is increasingly in the news because of its large Muslim population, the rise of fundamentalist rhetoric, and purported connections to international terrorism. The emergence of violent Muslim vigilante groups employing jihadist rhetoric and mobilizing followers for jihad is one of the most conspicuous new phenomena in Indonesian Islam.

The bomb blasts that rocked Kuta, Bali near midnight last October 12th profoundly effected almost every aspect of Indonesian life. After years of official denial, that horrifying incident triggered awareness that terrorism does exist in Indonesia and that Indonesia's home grown fanatics are connected to a global terrorist network.

Soon after the Bali bomb conspiracy was uncovered, earlier explosions that rocked various parts of the country were reexamined. Not all of them were definitively connected, but the renewed investigations revealed ties between a number of disparate terrorist groups. The perpetrators of these bomb blasts are now understood to belong to linked, hard-line Islamist organizations.