Indonesia: Islamic Terrorists Run Out Of Fans And Ideas


September 28, 2011: Police are seeking a gang of known Islamic terrorists (believed to be led by Pino Damayanto), who were behind an April attack in a mosque used by policemen, and were apparently involved with the most recent attack in Central Java. That attack was the first use of suicide bombers against a Christian church and the bomber was known to be part of the gang that carried out the April attack. These two attacks have been the only acts of Islamic terrorism this year. There has been some other Islamic radical violence, mostly in the form of gangs of Islamic conservative men trying to shut down night clubs and bars. The patrons of these places increasingly fight back, and when the police arrive, it's the Islamic thugs who get arrested first.

In the last three months, police have arrested more than twenty terrorist suspects in Central Java, and have been seeking the Pino Damayanto gang. This is one of the few Islamic terror groups still active in Indonesia, and they appear to spend most of their time avoiding capture. The biggest terrorist danger now is individual terrorists, operating alone. These men have limited resources, and when they do carry out an attack, it is often a failure. The recent bombing in Central Java used crude, homemade explosives that were sufficient to kill the bomber, but only wound nearby worshipers.

The main reason for the decline in Islamic terror activity is the fact that Indonesians were never hard core Moslems. This attracted fundamentalist missionaries from Saudi Arabia (paid for by the Saudi government), and some Islamic conservative mosques and schools were established over the last few decades. But after an outbreak of organized Islamic terrorism in Indonesia a decade ago, the population largely turned against the Islamic conservatives. Most Islamic schools now teach tolerance of other religions. The conservative mosques and schools are still operating, but they are not turning out Islamic radicals like they used to. Islamic radicalism is on the defensive, and seeking opportunities to make a comeback. Islamic terrorism is not seen as a practical tactic for gaining support for Islamic conservatism. Thus the police are left to hunt down those individuals who have not picked up on the shift in the public mood.

Violence in adjacent East Timor remains at the civil disorder level. Corruption and lack of much economic activity remain the biggest problems in the new country (which was formerly a restive part of Indonesia.)

To the east of East Timor, Papua, while still a part of Indonesia, suffers the same ethnic and cultural unrest. Like East Timor, Papua is inhabited by Melanesians, who are a different ethnic group than the Malays who comprise most of the Indonesian populations. Moreover, most Melanesians are not Moslems (Christianity is common, as are more ancient faiths) and don't want to be part of Indonesia. The separatist violence has declined this year, but the separatist tendencies remain. Indonesian officials say they are dealing with it, the Papuans are not so sure. Indonesia is promising more autonomy, but will not reduce the size, and authority, of security forces stationed in Papua.

September 27, 2011: Police identified the suicide bomber, who attacked in Central Java on the 25th, as Ahmad Yosepa Hayat.

September 26, 2011: A bomb was found outside a church on Ambon island, and dismantled. That was the fourth bomb found in the area in less than a week. All were crude, and dismantled before they could go off.

September 25, 2011:  In Central Java, an Islamic suicide bomber detonated his explosives outside a Christian church, killing himself and wounding 27 others.





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