The recent suicide bomb attack in Syria by a Malaysian militant has highlighted the presence of South-east Asian fighters in Syria’s civil war. Another 15 Malaysians have also been reportedly killed in clashes, while Indonesian militants have also featured among the dead in Syria and Iraq. Many of them were said to have fought for the extremist Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), which its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has declared to be a transnational “caliphate”.
Among the Indonesians killed were alumni of different Jemaah Islamiah-linked schools in Indonesia. Security analysts believe the number of Indonesian fighters in Syria is greater than the government estimate of 56.
Many Indonesian militants believe Syria to be the epicentre of the Last Caliphate and where the Final Battle, or Armageddon, against Dajjal, or the false messiah, will ensue. Based on jihadist interpretations of selected hadith – sayings of Prophet Muhammad – it is argued that the current conflict against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad may not be the Final Battle, but it certainly is a divinely sanctioned mechanism to get rid of infidels from the holy land.
… Navhat Nuraniyah is an Associate Research Fellow and Sulastri Osman is a Research Fellow with the Centre of Excellence for National Security, a constituent unit of the S. Rajaratnam Schoolof International Studies, Nanyang Technological University.
Last updated on 15/07/2014