Council for Social and Economic Studies P.O. Box 34143 Washington, DC 20043
Home Electronic Version
(Subscribers Only)
Prices / Subscribe
Recent Back Issues Sample Articles About JSPES

JSPES, Vol. 45, No. 1-2 (Spring-Summer 2020)
pp. 31-45

Indonesian Terrorism: Wahabism and the ‘Imagined Caliphate’ 

Herdi Sahrasad
Paamadina University, and Centre for Strategic Studies-University of Indonesia

Ali Maksum Universitas Muhammadiyah Yogyakarta, Indonesia

Al Chaidar
Malikussaleh University, Lhokseumawe, Indonesia

Teuku Syahrul Ansari University of Diponegoro, Indonesia

Some terrorist groups have joined ISIS (Islamic State of Syria and Iraq) and built regional power bases in Indonesia (Poso, Central Sulawesi) and the Philippines (Southern Mindanao) to struggle against the so-called thaghut regime (‘evil’ regime). ISIS was born as a result of the failure of Iraqi leaders, including Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, to build an inclusive Sunni/Shi’ite political system. This failure served to increase the number of militants across Iraq, including Sunnis. That in turn gave birth to ISIS amongst Sunni who protested their economic and political marginalization by the ruling Shi’ites. Support from the United States, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar to radical Sunni revolutionary factions in Syria also contributed to the birth of ISIS. The rise of ISIS amongst the ranks of Sunni Muslims has shocked the Islamic World, including Indonesia. The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is also known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), which specifically has a different area of influence. Terrorism in Indonesia sends a clear message to not only the authorities, but also to the people. The message can have multiple meanings, but it is clear that acts of terror are extraordinary political crimes. Therefore, the state and people of Indonesia should be vigilant against terrorism, as militants are still moving to realize the caliphate of their dreams.