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Jemaah Islamiyah Terrorist Group Research Paper

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Updated: Jul 16th, 2019


Jemaah Islamiyah is a terrorist network established in the 1990s by two men Abu Bakar Bashir and Abdullah Sungkar. They both had an objective of establishing the group and spreading it to several nations.

This was achieved because after being established in Indonesia, the Jemaah Islamiyah group has spread to nations such as Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand just to mentions a few. The group gets its members from willing volunteers who wish to join the group.

Once recruited, the members are trained in secret regions. The Jemaah Islamiyah group gets its financial support from the group’s kitty, grants, and proceeds from businesses.

The group has however threatened to attack the United States of America. As such, it is important for America to put in place measures that will minimize the activities of the group.


Terrorism is one of the socio-economical problems facing many nations today. Terrorism entails compelling people through coordinated use of fear. Organizations and groups posing threats to others use terrorism as a way of achieving their demands and objectives.

Terrorism is characterized by the haphazard use of brutality on the targeted opponents, which could be nations, sects, spiritual groups, and reigning administrations just to mention a few. The United States of America has been in the spotlight for threats posed by terrorists.

With most of the terrorist groups coming from the Islamic nations especially those in the Middle East, it clearly explains why terrorist groups target the United States of America (Abuza, 2003). It is however important to note a number of terrorist groups have threatened the entire world.

Despite the fact that al-Qaeda group is perhaps the most infamous in the world, other groups such as Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) have risen up to pose significant threats to the world (Riedel, 2010). This paper is an in-depth analysis of the Jemaah Islamiyah terrorist group by looking at its establishment and the threats it poses to the United States of America.

History of Jemaah Islamiyah

Jemaah Islamiyah is a terrorist network that was established in the 1990s. The men behind the founding of the group are Abu Bakar Bashir and Abdullah Sungkar (Barton, 2005, p. 65). The two had the objective of establishing an Islamic state within various regions of the world.

Upon realization of the objectives of Bashir and Sungkar, the president of Indonesia Suharto ordered for their imprisonment. This was because Indonesia had suffered previous attacks by terrorist groups such as Jihad Komando.

Despite spending several years in prison, the two leaders of Jemaah Islamiyah moved their followers to other nations such as Malaysia re-established the group. The Jemaah Islamiyah terrorist group has grown to encompass other nations such as Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Southern Thailand, and Philippines just to mention a few (Barton, 2005, p.42).

Past events, current status and future of the group

The group first made it attacks in 1999, which were carried out by the first group of the trained operatives. The first training was done in Afghanistan and southern parts of Philippines. Despite carrying out its attacks as early as 1999, the existence of the group was discovered later in 2001.

This was after the authorities of Singapore intercepted a plan to attack the United States Navy. However, the US State Department affirmed the terrorism of Jemaah Islamiyah group after an attack in Bali that killed 202 people in 2002. It was therefore branded a foreign terrorist organization (Kurth, 2004, p.1).

Jemaah Islamiyah is also responsible for other terrorist attacks in various regions of the world some of which include the 2003 bombing at Marriott hotel located in Jakarta, the bombing of Australian embassy in 2004, and the Bali bombing in 2005 (Chua, 2012, p.1).

The most recent attacks by the Jemaah Islamiyah group were the double bombings of Marriot and Ritz-Carlton hotels in 2009, which indicated repeated attacks.

Financing of the group

The financial support of terrorist groups has been in existence for many years and continues to the present day. The support is normally varied mostly coming from charitable organizations and members of the group. Jemaah Islamiyah is also depicted to receive substantial amounts of grants from local groups.

The funding helps the group with terrorist plans thus achieving objectives of the group (Curtis, 2002, p.1). The funds used for the group operations are normally sourced from the group’s kitty. In other instances, money from crime and fraud by some organizations is used to supplement funds from the group’s kitty.

In addition to this, the Jemaah Islamiyah is involved in businesses whose proceeds go to the group’s kitty to fund its operations. However, when the international community notices the businesses, it freezes the assets of the group in a bid to minimize the attacks (Curtis, 2002, p.1).

Recruitment and training of the group

Just like other terrorist groups such as Al-Qaeda, Jemaah Islamiyah conducts its recruitments and training secretly. The group does not force people to become members of the group but rather gets volunteers who believe in the deeds of the group. Jemaah Islamiyah gets large numbers of volunteers willing to be members.

Jemaah Islamiyah conducts its terrorist training in areas such as southern Philippines and Afghanistan among others. Like other terrorist groups, Jemaah Islamiyah boasts of strong social links that help in the recruitment of members to the group.

It is also important to note that training done to the Jemaah Islamiyah members is both formal and informal.

The potential and damage done by the group

The Jemaah Islamiyah group has caused serious damage to property. A look at the timeline of the group’s terrorist attacks, it goes without saying that a lot of damage has been done. The Jemaah Islamiyah is known to have engaged in actions that have compromise the safety of human beings and their property in areas that it operates.

Earlier in the paper, bombings of hotels and killings of people by the group was mentioned. The 2002 bombing in Bali that killed about 202 people is an example of the damage that the group has caused (Chua, 2012, p.1).

This was actually marked as the deadliest terror attack to be committed by the Jemaah Islamiyah group. Thus, it is essential for the international community to work hard to eliminate the group given the potential damage that it can do.

Threats the group poses to the United States

The threats by the Jemaah Islamiyah group go across national borders to other regions of the world such as the United States of America. Since Jemaah Islamiyah is an example of the Islamic militancy with the goal of carrying out terrorist attacks in the targeted nations.

The reason behind the many threats to the United States is the lead role that America has taken to fight terrorism. Thus, most of the terrorist groups including Jemaah Islamiyah have threatened to attack the USA as one way of fighting back.


The death of Osama Bin Laden who was the leader of the al-Qaeda group was an achievement in the fight against terrorism by the United States. However, this does not mean that America is not vulnerable to terrorist attacks.

If anything, killing of the al-Qaeda leader was like igniting the war between the terrorists and the United States America. Implementation of strategies that will break the coherence of the Jemaah Islamiyah group is one method of ending the group’s existence. This strategy is bound to weaken the strength of the group hence minimizing terrorism.

Reference List

Abuza, Z. (2003). Militant Islam in Southeast Asia: Crucible of Terror. Colorado, USA: Lynne Rienner Publishers.

Barton, G. (2005). Jemaah Islamiyah: radical Islam in Indonesia. Singapore: Singapore University Press.

Chua, S. (2012). Where is Jemaah Islamiyah now? Web.

Curtis, G. (2002). . Web.

Kurth, C. (2004). . Web.

Riedel, B. (2010). The Search for Al Qaeda: Its Leadership, Ideology, and Future. New York: Brookings Institution Press.

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