Indonesian authorities are fearing a new group of ISIS militants is getting organized in Indonesia. They believe Bahrun Nain is the leader of the operation.
In 2011, Indonesian counter-terrorist forces managed to take out Sigit Qurdowi, the leader of a militant group they believed was responsible for several failed bombing attempts in the city of Solo, in central Java.
After the death of Qurdowi, the group known as Team Hisbah splintered. Some formed an anti-vice squad, others grouped around Bahrrun Nain, a native of Solo.
The town is known to have a number of schools and mosques associated with radical Islam. As such, it would be the perfect place for recruitment. And it seems Nain is doing just that.
Indonesia has the largest Muslim population in the world. There are nearly 207 million Muslims currently living in the country, which account for nearly 13% of the entire Muslim population of the world.
However, the country remains a secular one, in spite of its strong Islamic influences. The influence of ISIS militants was contained in the 2000s, when an al Qaeda branch was shutdown. Police managed to send to jail many of its members and leaders.
However, according to Indonesian authorities IS has been reviving radical Islamist movements that have persisted throughout the centuries.
Last year, Reuters contacted a man claiming to be Nain. Regarding ISIS militants, Nain said that there are “enough men in Indonesia to carry out an action, more than enough support. Just waiting for the right trigger.”
Mahmoud, an Islamic university lecturer has said that the Islamic State movement is booming in Indonesia. Two of his sons have already left the country to fight in the Islamic State army.
As of yet, Indonesia has not banned people from supporting radical groups such as ISIS.
ISIS Militants Could Gain a Foothold in Indonesia
Potential ISIS militants can only be investigated if there is solid evidence that they are involved with a terrorist organization. Declaring support for ISIS can be the basis of an investigation, but it is not enough for police to take legal action.
Apparently, it is quite easy to contact Nain via the internet. Nain has even set up a website that teaches people how to make bombs. However, police have recently attempted to block all contact with Nain’s websites.
The town of Solo has seen the rise and fall of many radical Islamist movements. This is the town from which Abu Bakar Bashir comes. He is the spiritual leader of Jemaah Islamiyah movement. Bashir is now in prison, serving a 15-year sentence. He was found guilty of funding a militant training camp in Indonesia.
The city hosts dozens of Islamic boarding-schools. There are tens of radical youth groups all throughout the city. Many of them act as vigilantes, raiding gambling dens, brothels and cafes.
These radical groups became increasingly popular in the late ‘90s, especially after the fall of President Suharto, in 1998. He had been extremely aggressive against opposition coming from Islamic groups.
So far, it would seem that the potential ISIS militants lack the know-how to start a major offensive. But it seems things are changing. Slowly, but surely, many of the new recruits are gaining the knowledge to fabricate artisanal bombs. And eventually they could be capable of organizing attacks.
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