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«(SEARCCT LOGO) Perpustakaan Negara Malaysia Cataloguing-in-Publication Data Samuel, Thomas Koruth, 1977RADICALISATION IN SOUTHEAST ASIA: A SELECTED ...»

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(Thomas Koruth Samuel)


Perpustakaan Negara Malaysia Cataloguing-in-Publication Data



Thomas Koruth Samuel, ISBN 978-983-44397-7-4

1. Radicalism--Southeast Asia.

2. Radicals--Southeast Asia.

3. Terrorism--Southeast Asia.

4. Southeast Asia—Politics and Government.

I. Title 363.3250959 First published in 2016.

SEARCCT is dedicated to advocating the understanding of issues pertaining to terrorism and counter-terrorism and contributing ideas for counter-terrorism policy.

The Centre accomplishes this mainly by organising capacity building courses, research, publications and public awareness programmes.

All rights reserved.

No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored, transmitted or disseminated in any form or by any means without the prior written permission of the publisher. All statements of facts and opinions and expressions contained in this work are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The Government of Malaysia, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the European Union (EU). The Government of Malaysia, the UNODC and the EU assume no responsibility for any statement of fact or opinion expressed in this work.

PUBLISHER The Southeast Asia Regional Centre for Counter-Terrorism (SEARCCT), Ministry of Foreign Affairs, No. 516, Persiaran Tuanku Ja’afar, Bukit Persekutuan, 50480 Kuala Lumpur, MALAYSIA.

Tel: (603) 2280 2868 Fax : (603) 2274 2374 E-mail : info@searcct.gov.my Website: www.searcct.gov.my CONTENTS Acknowledgement i Foreword iii List of acronyms v Executive Summary vii Introduction to the research project 1 Preamble 3 1 INTRODUCTION TO DAESH 5 Outline Terminology The beginning Number of Foreign Terrorist Fighters (FTF) Daesh leaders The evolution of Daesh The ideology of Daesh Daesh’s spending and financing Alliances and pledges of allegiance Daesh and the media Daesh attacks 2 DAESH IN SOUTHEAST ASIA 23 Outline Introduction Why Southeast Asia?

Impact to Southeast Asia 3 DAESH IN INDONESIA 27 Outline Introduction Developments on the ground  Building the Daesh base  Abu Bakar Bashir and his position on Daesh  Significant developments  Indonesians In Syria And Iraq  Katibah Nusantara  Reaction of the Indonesian public and civil society Issues in radicalisation  Religion  Prison radicalisation  Radicalisation of students and undergraduates  Other drivers of radicalisation  Daesh recruitment  Countering the terrorist narratives The response from the government  Deradicalisation programme  Legislation Conclusion 4 DAESH IN MALAYSIA 59 Outline Introduction Threat of Foreign Terrorist Fighters (FTF) Developments on the ground Legislation Issues in radicalisation  Motivational factors  Pre-radicalisation signs  The recruitment process  Non-violent radical groups  Daesh and the Internet  Returning Foreign Terrorist Fighters (FTF)  Countering the terrorist narratives Conclusion 5 DAESH IN THE PHILIPPINES 81 Outline Introduction Developments on the ground Daesh linked groups  The Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF)  The Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG)  The Ansar Dawlah Fi Filibbin  The Rajah Solaiman Islamic Movement (RSIM)  The Ansar Khalifah Sarangani  The Khilafa Islamiyah Mindanao (KIM) Issues in radicalisation  Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB)  Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW)  Madrassahs  Motivational factors  Countering radicalisation Conclusion 6 KEY FINDINGS 101 Outline Introduction Research Findings  Role of Religion  Daesh’s capacity to disseminate their narrative  Returning FTF  Direct Daesh radicalisation versus indirect Daesh radicalisation  The power of shame and the need to do something  Lack of counter-narratives and dissemination channels  Daesh as a satellite state in Southeast Asia Knowledge Gaps  The need for theoretical models  The Need to understand ideology  The need for cross-cutting research

–  –  –

I am deeply grateful to many who have helped me in this journey to make this monograph a reality.

First and foremost, I am indebted to God for His friendship, mercy and grace, without which, none of this would have been ever been possible.

The European Union (EU) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), through the ‘EU-UNODC Joint Initiative for Supporting Southeast Asian Countries to Counter Terrorism’ who provided the necessary funding. The UNODC Regional Office for Southeast Asia and the Pacific in Bangkok as well as the UNODC Country Office in Indonesia was instrumental in facilitating as well as providing technical support. In particular, I am indebted to Mr. Hérnan Longo, Ms. Thanawan Klumklomchit, Ms.

Céline C. Cocq, Ms. Supapim Wannopas and Ms. Yunety Tarigan for both their professionalism and patience. I am grateful for your input and especially your friendship.

The leadership, officers and staff in the Southeast Asia Regional Centre for CounterTerrorism (SEARCCT), under the guidance of H.E. Ambassador Rashidah Ramli and Deputy Director General, Mr. Shazryll Zahiran, have been pivotal in supporting this project. My colleagues in SEARCCT; Superintendent Tan Kwang Seng, Mr. Hasril Abdul Hamid, Mr. Ahmad Tajuddin Said, Ms. Robita Lee Robinson, Ms. Thangeswary Paleswaran, Ms. Natalie Chew, Ms. Jasmin Jawhar, Mr. Syukor Abdul, ASP Najib Zainal Abidin and Captain Ajlan Ramli for their friendship and ‘covering’ for me when I undertook this research.

I am very thankful to the Governments and civil society of Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines for sharing and allowing me the opportunity to learn from you on this issue. I am indebted to the policy makers, law enforcement authorities, NGOs, academics and military officials for your kindness and professionalism.

I am also grateful to Associate Professor Bilveer Singh, Professor Greg Barton, Associate Professor Kumar Ramakrishna, Associate Professor Syed Farid Alatas and Mr.

Ahmad El Muhamaddy who read my initial drafts and provided valuable comments. I would also like to thank the editing team of Ms. Archana Skariah, Ms. Elizabeth P. M.

Easaw, Ms. Cherish Marisa Philip, Ms. Goh Gaik Suan, Ms. Natalie Ng, Mr. Sanjay Jacob and Ms. Santha Zachariah who at such short notice, made the work readable. Any mistakes, however, both in content, facts or style remain my sole responsibility.

i I would also like to thank my family. My dad, K.V. Samuel and mum, Mary Samuel, who continue to inspire me by their Godliness, simplicity, integrity, and a fierce sense of commitment and also my in-laws, Mr and Mrs. William Doraisamy, four brothers and extended family for their care and concern.

I cannot forget my wife, Amelia Grace William, who also doubles as my best-friend;

and my sweet daughter, Naomi Mary Thomas, who is my ‘factory-of-joy.’ One gives me strength and the other; hope.

Lastly, I am deeply appreciative to the various individuals and organsiations from Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines that I met during the roundtable discussions, interviews and meetings. I am inspired by both your passion and devotion. Many do not know, and will never know, the extent that you have gone to keep us safe and I remain humbled by your dedication, perseverance and courage.


From Mosul to Paris, Ramadi to London, Yemen to the United States, Jakarta and most recently Brussels; the world has not been spared the cruel touch of the Islamic State or Daesh. Their ability to attract thousands; men and women, young and old, educated and illiterate from various parts of the world, to join a cause known primarily for its beheading, suicide bombings and stabbing is a testimony of not only their barbarity and cruelty but also of their power to attract, persuade, radicalise and recruit. It is unfortunate that the Southeast Asian region, far removed from the civil war in Syria and the turmoil in Iraq, has not been spared.

In fact, the growing influence and aspirations that Daesh has been able to exert in Southeast Asia, is both significant and of great concern. The brazen January 2016 attacks in the heart of Jakarta, the growing number of citizens in this region finding their way to Syria and Iraq to participate in the conflict there, the rising number of Foreign Terrorist Fighters (FTF) returning to the region to ‘bring back the war to the home front,’ the increasing number of terror groups pledging bai’ah to Daesh and finally the establishment and growing prominence of Katibah Nusantara or the ‘Malay Archipelago Unit for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria’; a component of Daesh staffed solely by personnel from Indonesia and Malaysia are but some of the indicators of Daesh’s influence in Southeast Asia.

Against this backdrop, this study hopes to look at what Daesh was and has become and to study their ‘fingerprints’ in the radicalisation process that they have helped to orchestrate in Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines. It will also look into the process of glocalisation, in this context meaning the ability of Daesh to further its ideological goals through the use of local terror groups.

Finally, this study will propose a model, focused not on Daesh, but rather focusing on the people of Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines. It is predicated on the desperate need to address the fears exploited by Daesh and to articulate our story through creative and passionate means, using a myriad of mediums and conduits, all with the hope to tell a better story than that of the extremist, so as to win the ‘hearts and minds’ of our people.

Let us however not be fooled. The grim reality is that it is going to be a tough battle to counter this quasi state that has yet to be dislodged and at times, seems to thrive.

But we have little choice.

iii For behind every beheading, burning and killing; behind every bombing, shooting and stabbing, there lies a name, a face, a distraught family and a painful memory. In the midst of our research, our strategies and our intervention, let us never forget that.

Thomas Koruth Samuel March 2016

–  –  –

AFP Australian Federal Police AFP Armed Forces of the Philippines AKS Ansar Khalifah Sarangani AQI Al Qaeda in Iraq ARMM Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao ASG Abu Sayyaf Group BIFF Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters BJMP Bureau of Jail Management and Penology BNPT Badan Nasional Penanggulangan Terorisme (Indonesian National Counter-Terrorism Agency) CAB Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro CIA Central Intelligence Agency CVE Countering Violent Extremism Daesh al Dawla al Islamiya fi al Iraq wa al Sham DHS Department of Homeland Security DI Darul Islam DIM Darul Islam Malizia DSCD Digital Strategic Communications Division EMD Electronic Monitoring Device EU European Union FAB Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro FAKSI Forum Aktivis Syariat Islam FBI Federal Bureau of Investigation FNA Fars News Agency FTF Foreign Terrorist Fighters FTO Foreign Terrorist Organisation FU-MUI Forum Ukhuwah Islamiyah Majelis Ulama Indonesia GMMF Global Movement of the Moderates Foundation HMT Hizbut Tahrir Malaysia ICT Information Communication Technology IED Improvised Explosive Devices IM4U 1 Malaysia for Youth ISA Internal Security Act ISAFP Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines ISI Islamic State of Iraq ISIS Islamic State of Iraq and Sham ISIS Institute of Strategic International Studies ISR Islamic State Report JAS Jamaah Ansharusy Syariah v JAT Jamaah Anshorul Tauhid JI Jamaah Islamiyah JIM Justice for Islamic Movement KFR Kidnapping for Ransom KIM Khilafa Islamiyah Mindanao KMM Kumpulan Mujahidin Mujahidin/Malaysia KUIB Kongres Umat Islam Bekasi MCA Malaysian Chinese Association MIB Mujahidin Indonesia Barat (West Indonesia Mujahidin) MILF Moro Islamic Liberation Front MIT Mujahidin Indonesia Timur (Mujahidin of Eastern Indonesia) MMI Majelis Mujahidin Indonesia MNLF Moro National Liberation Front MOA-AD Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain NGO Non Governmental Organisation OFW Overseas Foreign Workers POTA Prevention of Terrorism Act RMP Royal Malaysian Police RPG Rocket Propelled Grenade RSIM Rajah Solaiman Islamic Movement RSIS S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies SAF Special Action Force SB Special Branch SEARCCT Southeast Asia Regional Centre for Counter-Terrorism SICA Special Intensive Care Area SMATA Special Measures Against Terrorism in Foreign Countries Act SOP Standard Operating Procedures SOSMA Security Offences (Special Measures) Act UM University Malaya UNODC United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime UNSC United Nations Security Council


This research looks at the issue of Daesh-type radicalisation in the region, focusing particularly on Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines. Having identified that Daesh’s narrative was the key driver and catalyst for such radicalisation, the study then goes on to propose a ‘4-Step Counter-Narrative Developmental Model’ to deal with this specific challenge.

A qualitative approach was employed for this study and this encompassed roundtable discussions and both structured and non-structured interviews. Participants were relevant policy makers, law enforcement officials, academics, researchers, the military, experts and civil society leaders mainly, but not limited to Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines. Insights were also obtained from various workshops, conferences and seminars both within and beyond the Southeast Asian region. Numerous reports, briefings and commentaries from various sources in this field were also examined.

Drafts of the research study were then sent to academics and practitioners both locally and internationally to obtain their feedback and critique.

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