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Jihad and Religious Violence in Indonesia, 1995-2005 In contrast with the riots and pogroms observed in Indonesia in the preceding decade, the turn of the twenty-first century witnessed a discernible shift to a new form of religious violence in the country, one identified with the sign of jihad. This jihad, in the narrow sense of the term, assumed the form of armed paramilitary assaults on Christian neighborhoods and villages in Maluku and Poso in 2000-2001, and terrorist bombings elsewhere in the country from 2000 through 2004. These new forms of religious violence in Indonesia differed markedly from preceding patterns in at least three ways. First of all, they lacked the seemingly more spontaneous, sporadic , and popular character of the riots of 1995-97 and the pogroms of 1998-2000 with their attacks by crudely armed crowds on buildings, neighborhoods, and villages; these were replaced by completely premeditated , carefully planned and coordinated activities by small groups of heavily armed, trained, full-time jihadi fighters and conspirators. Not only the identity of the perpetrators but also the very nature of the agency associated with the violence had clearly changed. Second, the pattern shifted from local forces and focuses of violence to ones of national and international scale. In the riots of 1995-97 and the pogroms of 1998-2000, the violence was directed by townspeople against other townspeople, villagers against other villagers, sometimes even neighbors against neighbors. In the paramilitary activities of armed groups operating in Maluku and Poso, by contrast, recruits from Java and other parts of the Indonesian archipelago were mobilized for a broader, arguably more national, struggle across the religious divide. In the explosions that punctuated the years from 2000 through 2004, moreover, the targets shifted 196 Jihad and Religious Violence, 1995-2005 197 from the local Christian churches bombed on Christmas Eve 2000 to sites of foreign and distinctly Western influence and intrusiveness, such as nightclubs and hotels. These bombings were also carried out by full-time jihadi activists who counted Malaysians and other foreign nationals among their numbers, and whose international orbit included Muslim rebel-controlled zones of the southern Philippines, safe havens in Malaysia and Thailand, and training camps in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Third, the pattern shifted to one in which the purveyors of religious violence appeared to be exclusively Muslim in faith and Islamist in intention, and in which Protestants, Catholics, and other non-Muslims seemed to figure solely as targets and victims. The religious riots of 1995-97, by contrast , had included a series of attacks by Catholic crowds on Muslim mosques and shops in Eastern Indonesian areas such as Flores and the Indonesian -occupied territory of East Timor. In the religious pogroms of 1998-2000, moreover, some of the most egregious instances of large-scale collective violence were perpetrated by Christians against Muslims and claimed large numbers of victims of both faiths. But the activities of heavily armed and trained extralocal paramilitary groups in Maluku and Poso in 2000-2001, and the detonation of bombs in various locations in 20002004 , were undertaken solely by Muslims acting under an Islamist banner. To be sure, considerable financial and logistical assistance was provided to armed Christian groups in Maluku and Poso by Christian businessmen, military officers (retired and active), and politicians in Jakarta and elsewhere in Indonesia, and Protestant and Catholic churches in Western Europe and North America also offered various forms of support. But these Christian forces, like the avowedly neutral agencies of the Indonesian state, were careful to distance themselves from acts of violence against Muslims and to define their involvement in terms of helping to defend vulnerable minority communities under threat. Against the rallying cry for jihad among Muslims in Indonesia and beyond, no corresponding call for a new set of Crusades was openly voiced by Christian leaders in the archipelago or elsewhere , no supralocal paramilitary groups were recruited and dispatched to Maluku or Poso, and no bombing campaign against mosques around the country or Muslim embassies in Jakarta came to pass. In short, the turn of the twenty-first century witnessed a notable narrowing of religious violence in Indonesia. This narrowing was evident in the decline-rather than escalation-of interfaith violence in religiously divided localities around the archipelago, and in the diminishing scale and frequency of violent crowd actions in such settings. Religious violence, it became clear, was increasingly the preserve of small numbers of full-time specialists in isolated pockets, rather than of entire communities of faith...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9781501729898
Related ISBN
9780801445156
MARC Record
OCLC
1080551535
Pages
304
Launched on MUSE
2019-01-02
Language
English
Open Access
No
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