Indonesia has 500,000 hardliners ‘ activated for jihad’
AN ARMY of 500,000 jihadists is poised on Australia’s doorstep as Indonesian intelligence chiefs warn their country is seeing an unprecedented spike in radicalism.
Huge numbers of Indonesians support a caliphate either in Syria or at home and are further increasing the country’s terror risk.
“There are 500,000 people already radicalised,” said one of several top intelligence officials in an exclusive background briefing to The Sunday Telegraph in Jakarta.
“They are ready to fight democracy here or to go to Syria. They are jihadists.”
One intelligence boss added: “We now have children saying: ‘Taghut’,” which refers to the accusation that anyone who does not follow Allah follows Satan and is a kafir.
“The biggest problem is when parents make someone who is sevenyears-old into a mental monster through indoctrination.
“We have too many children coming from Syria. We are the first in the world to take back jihadists and put them through programs. We do not know what the result of that will be.”
The intelligence chiefs said the battleground had long shifted from Bali, when Jemaah Islamiah had a tight command structure and charismatic leaders gave one-on-one counselling in terror.
Each player was given a part and bomb-making was seen as an expert craft. Now, homemade and highly un-
stable bombs could be made by anyone.
“Syria and the Islamic State doctrine is very different,” said one. “Now they say you can attack any target and this is very difficult to stop. It used to be one embassy or one hotel a year. Now they can come from anywhere, any time.”
According to some surveys, the figure of 500,000 jihadists — being people ready to fight the government or commit acts of terror — is underestimating the problem. One recent survey suggested 11.5 million Indonesians were prone to radicalisation.
“The absolute numbers may seem incredible, but it doesn’t surprise me across the 210 million Muslims in Indonesia,” Australian terror expert Greg Barton said.
“Unlike Australia, there are aboveground movements with extreme edges and it’s a very problematic dynamic. It’s not going to be easy to shut them down.
“On a positive side, 85 per cent support Pancasila (the country’s founding democratic principles). But it means 15 per cent don’t.”
The intel chiefs are closely watching the conflict in Marawi in southern Philippines, given the fatwa for every able person to get to Syria or the Philippines and, if that failed, to attack any government worker at home.
They added that Myanmar’s Rohingya crisis would have a “deep impact” in Indonesia, with local jihadists using attacks on the Muslim minority in Myanmar as an excuse to attack the government in Indonesia.
Asked to name the most dangerous Indonesians, they chose Bahrun Naim (pictured far left), an IT expert who is fighting in Syria, and Aman Abdurrahman (right), held in Nusakambangan over the January 2016 attacks in Jakarta, saying they were “one and the same” when it came to influence.
“Aman spreads the ideology, Bahrun spreads the skill of bomb-making,” an intel chief said.
“Right now, women are becoming radicalised because they are receiving direct orders from Bahrun, who wants to make women and children fighters for IS.”