Indonesian fighters who have joined Islamic State in Syria are using social media to encourage fellow jihadists back home to murder Christians by any means necessary.
There are some 23 million Christians in Indonesia, as well as large numbers of tourists – including many Australians – visiting places such as Bali who are also followers of the faith and could be targets of such “lone wolf” attacks.
In September last year, IS spokesman Abu Muhammad al-Adnani urged supporters to kill “non-believers” in response to US-led air strikes against its forces.
Although there have been a spate of attacks – and attempted attacks – apparently inspired by the call to arms, it is yet to happen in Indonesia.
But one Indonesian fighter in Syria – who goes by the nom de guerre Abu Karimah Indonesi – has urged other radical Islamists to do the same.
In an exchange with a fellow jihadist apparently frustrated by his inability to travel to Syria, Abu Karimah gives advice on “jihad made easy”.
Asked by an Indonesian-based jihadist if weapons are needed, he replies: “Our leader makes jihad easy for you. Kill any salibis you can find. Salibis can be easily found.”
Salibis is a favoured word of jihadists to denote “followers of the cross”, or Christians.
“Process your target. The bigger the better. But if it’s difficult, it’s more important in jihad to simplify and do it sooner,” the instructions continue.
“You can use anything. For example, a car. Video the process … run them over while passing.”
The call to film the murder also mimics advice by IS spokesman Adnani given in September.
The urging of the random, opportunistic and low-tech attacks comes as Indonesia grapples with a surge of its citizens pledging allegiance to IS, which has yet to be outlawed in the country.
Thousands of Indonesians have believed to have taken the oath of devotion to IS while between 300 and 700 Indonesians have travelled to Syria to join jihadists and the self-proclaimed caliphate.
Sidney Jones, a Jakarta-based terrorism analyst with the Institute of Policy Analysis and Conflict, says IS was focused on solidifying its gain in Syria and Iraq. “They need Indonesians for fighting,” she said.
But she said there could a number of reasons why IS and its supporters could turn its attention to attacks in Indonesia in the future.
Lone-wolf attacks by Indonesians frustrated by their inability to travel to Syria was one scenario, she said.
The IS hierarchy could also order attacks, while competition between rival jihadi groups in Indonesia could spur terrorist actions as the try to brandish their credentials as the most militant, she added.
Indonesia’s Muslim population is overwhelmingly moderate but it has battled violent Islamic extremism from a small but virulent band of militants since the Bali bombings of 2002 that killed 202 people, including 88 Australians.
A huge police and intelligence effort ended a spate of bombings in 2009 and splintered terrorist networks. But the rise of IS has prompted fears that a new generation of extremists is being created.
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“Join the Ranks” from The Islamic State:
(Featuring: Abu Muhammad al Indonesi)
Video courtesy of: Syria Focus