A report released by the International Crisis Group (ICG) on Tuesday stated that the emergence of small terror groups in the country was accompanied by a change in tactics and targets.
“The preferred method of operation [amaliyah] is no longer the bombing of iconic buildings but secret assassinations [ightiyalat] that are less likely to cause inadvertent Muslim deaths or prompt massive arrests,” the report, which highlighted the shift in violent extremism in Indonesia, said.
The ICG reported that violent extremism in the country was increasingly taking the form of small groups acting independently of large jihadi organizations, but sometimes with their encouragement.
The targets of the small-scale terror groups “are increasingly local,” it says.
“Police are top of the list, partly to avenge the deaths of suspected terrorists in law enforcement operations; the 15 April, 2011, suicide bombing at a police station mosque in Cirebon is the most recent example. Other targets include Muslim officials who are deemed oppressors [thaghut], as well as prominent non-Muslims [kafir],” the ICG said, adding that Christians and members of the Ahmadiyah sect are included in the list of targets.
The group also highlights ideological shifts within the Indonesian jihadi communities, which are divided between those who uphold organized jihad (jihad tanzim) and those who advocate individual jihad (jihad fardiyah).
The ICG says the second group believes that, if jihad is defensive in nature, meaning war becomes an individual obligation for all Muslims, no leader or organization is necessary. Thus, “children can wage war without their parents' permission, wives without their husbands'.”
“Force of circumstance, particularly the weakening of jihadi organizations through effective law enforcement, has propelled more Indonesian jihadis to look favorably on jihad fardiyah – of which the letter bombs that hit Jakarta in early March 2011 may have been one example,” the ICG said.