30 June 2015
The role of Southeast Asians in global jihad is not new. Many from the region joined mujahideen to fight the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, especially in the period 1985 to 1989. Later, when Al Qaeda was established, many of these fighters supported Osama bin Laden’s outfit, with the Jemaah Islamiyyah becoming Al Qaeda’s Southeast Asian affiliate. Jemaah Islamiyyah was Southeast Asia’s first terrorist group. Historically too, the magnetic pull of the Middle East – the historical source of Islam and epicentre of the Sunni Islamic religion in Mecca and Madinah – have always attracted Muslim Indonesians and Malaysians to influences from that region. Indonesia is not only the largest Muslim nation in Southeast Asia but in the world, while Malaysia is the second largest Muslim nation in the region.
… Bilveer Singh is currently a Visiting Fellow at the IDSA. He teaches at the Department of Political Science, National University of Singapore, is an Adjunct Senior Fellow, Centre of Excellence for National Security, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University, and President, Political Science Association, Singapore.
CENS / Online
Last updated on 16/11/2015