The RSIS Book Launch Webinar of Extremist Islam: Recognition and Response in Southeast Asia was held online on 27 May 2022. Published by Oxford University Press, the book was authored by Associate Professor Kumar Ramakrishna, Provost’s Chair in National Security Studies, Associate Dean in charge of Policy Studies, Head of International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research (ICPVTR), and Research Adviser to National Security Studies Programme at RSIS.
Ambassador Ong Keng Yong, Executive Deputy Chairman of RSIS, in his opening remarks highlighted the book’s importance and timeliness. Assoc Prof Ramakrishna followed with an overview, describing his book as an attempt to make sense of the evolving transnational Islamist terror threat in Southeast Asia. In recent years, on top of organised networked threats, the extremist ideology has spread through cyberspace, giving rise to more lone wolf attacks and self-radicalised incidents. He then introduced the structure which examines the radicalisation process and beliefs of four Islamist extremists in Southeast Asia. Assoc Prof Ramakrishna also summarised his book’s seven key takeaways, including a comprehensive strategy of promoting powerful alternative narratives to extremism.
The book launch webinar also featured an esteemed panel of discussants, including Assistant Professor Mohamed Ali from the Studies in Inter-Religious Relations in Plural Societies Programme in RSIS; Dr Noor Huda Ismail, a Visiting Fellow at RSIS and founder of Ruangobrol.id; as well as Professor Amin Saikal from the University of Western Australia, who was also former Distinguished Professor of Political Science and Director of the Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies at the Australian National University. Following their sharings, there was an engaging question and answer session involving all the speakers and also participants from the academic and policy sectors. The session was chaired by Mr Raffaello Pantucci, Senior Fellow of ICPVTR, RSIS.