Jemaah Islamiya is a Southeast Asian–based terrorist network with links to al-Qaida. The network recruited and trained extremists in the late 1990s, following the stated goal of creating an Islamic state comprising Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, the southern Philippines, and southern Thailand. First designated in October 2002.
JI was responsible for the bombing of the J. W. Marriott Hotel in Jakarta on 5 August 2003, the Bali bombings on 12 October 2002, and an attack against the Philippine Ambassador to Indonesia in August 2000. The Bali plot, which left more than 200 dead, was reportedly the final outcome of meetings in early 2002 in Thailand, where attacks against Singapore and soft targets such as tourist spots in the region were also considered. In December 2001, Singapore authorities uncovered a JI plot to attack the US and Israeli Embassies and British and Australian diplomatic buildings in Singapore, and in June 2003, Thai authorities disrupted a JI plan to attack several Western embassies and tourist sites there. Investigations also linked the JI to bombings in December 2000 where dozens of bombs were detonated in Indonesia and the Philippines, killing 22 in the Philippines and 15 in Indonesia.
The capture in August of Indonesian Riduan bin Isomoddin (a.k.a. Hambali), JI leader and al-Qaida Southeast Asia operations chief, damaged the JI, but the group maintains its ability to target Western interests in the region and to recruit new members through a network of radical Islamic schools based primarily in Indonesia.
Exact numbers are currently unknown, and Southeast Asian authorities continue to uncover and arrest additional JI elements. Elements of total JI members vary widely from the hundreds to the thousands.
Location/Area of Operation
JI is believed to have cells spanning Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, southern Thailand, and Pakistan and may have some presence in neighboring countries.
Investigations indicate that, in addition to raising its own funds, JI receives money and logistic assistance from Middle Eastern and South Asian contacts, nongovernmental organizations, and other groups—including al-Qaida.