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 Jemaah Islamiyah (JI)

(Also known as: Al-Jama’ah Al-Islamiyah; Jamaah Islamiyah; Jama’ah Islamiyah; Jemaa Islamiya; Jema’a Islamiya; Jemaa Islamiyah; Jema’a Islamiyya; Jemaa Islamiyya; Jemaa Islamiyyah; Jemaah Islamiah; Jemaah Islamiya; Jeemah Islamiyah; Jema’ah Islamiyah; Jemaah Islamiyyah; Jema’ah Islamiyyah; JI)

This statement is based on publicly available information about Jemaah Islamiyah. To the Australian Government’s knowledge, this information is accurate, reliable and has been corroborated by classified information.

Basis for listing a terrorist organisation

Division 102 of the Criminal Code provides that for an organisation to be listed as a terrorist organisation, the Attorney-General must be satisfied on reasonable grounds that the organisation:

  1. is directly or indirectly engaged in, preparing, planning, or assisting in or fostering the doing of a terrorist act (whether or not a terrorist act has occurred or will occur); or
  2. advocates the doing of a terrorist act (whether or not a terrorist act has occurred or will occur).

Background to this listing

The Australian Government first proscribed Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) as a terrorist organisation on 27 October 2002, and relisted JI on 1 September 2004, 26 August 2006, 9 August 2008, 22 July 2010, and 12 July 2013. 

Terrorist activity of the organisation


JI is a Salafi jihadist group that intends to use violence to advance political objectives, and is inspired by the same ideology as al Qa’ida. JI regards the Indonesian Government, along with other governments in the region, to be illegitimate. JI seeks to revive a pure form of Islam, governed by the tenets of Sharia (Islamic law), and represents an evolutionary development of the Indonesian Islamist movement, Darul Islam (DI), which fought a violent insurgency to establish an Islamist state in Indonesia in the 1950s and 1960s. JI’s goals are essentially those of DI, but with a regional perspective.

JI’s charter and operating manual, the “General Guide for the Struggle of Al-Jama’ah Al‑Islamiyah” (PUPJI), outlines the religious principles and administrative aspects underlining JI’s primary objectives. These entail establishing a solid support base of followers and then, through armed struggle, creating an Islamist state in Indonesia followed by a pan-Islamic Caliphate incorporating Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei and the southern Philippines and ultimately a global theocratic Islamic state.

JI has undertaken the following to advance its ideology and pursue its objectives:

Directly or indirectly engaged in, preparing, planning, assisting in or fostering the doing of terrorist acts

JI’s first successful anti-Western attack was the Bali bombings of October 2002 which killed 202 people, including 88 Australians. This was followed by the 2003 JW Marriot Hotel bombing and the 2004 bombing of the Australian Embassy in Jakarta. The second Bali bombing, which took place in 2005, killed four Australians. The second JW Marriot Hotel bombing took place in 2009, along with the simultaneous Ritz-Carlton bombing, which together killed seven civilians, including three Australians.

Elements of JI have conducted numerous attacks targeting sectarian and foreign interests in Indonesia, particularly anti-Christian violence in Sulawesi, Maluku and Sumatra. JI targeted the Philippines Ambassador in Jakarta in 2000 and also conducted sectarian attacks across Indonesia over the 2000/2001 Christmas and New Year period.

JI has been responsible for preparing, planning or assisting in the doing of terrorist attacks against a range of targets, but particularly Christian, Western and regional governments’ interests in South-East Asia. Those previously subjected to JI attacks include hotels, bars, diplomatic premises, transport and military facilities and churches.

  • Regional JI operatives undertook planning and preparatory activities in support of a second unrealised al-Qa’ida-backed aviation plot that was intended to follow the initial aviation attacks on the US on 11 September 2001.
  • In December 2001, Singaporean authorities detained 11 suspects under the country’s Internal Security Act (ISA) over a JI-linked plot to attack Australian, British, Israeli and US interests, and a mass rail transport (MRT) station in Singapore.

JI remains focused on Dawah (Islamic outreach) and its publishing operations to promote an extreme interpretation of Islam. JI’s network of 50 or more affiliated religious schools continually works to inculcate future generations of Indonesian youths in this extreme form of Islam. JI’s recruitment and outreach activities are designed to establish a support base in Indonesia for an Islamist State under Islamic Law, and legitimise the use of violence against property and individuals to achieve their objectives. Past terrorist attacks attributed to JI continue to inspire a new generation of potential jihadists. 

While JI have not undertaken a terrorist attack in recent years, it retains intent and willingness to use violence in support of its long term political and ideological objectives.  The use of violence is outlined in the PUPJI, issued by the Central Leadership Council within JI on 30 May 1996.  In line with this doctrine, JI acknowledge and promote the use of violence in support of their goals.

While JI is currently organisationally focused on Dawah, elements of JI have retained their aspiration to return to the use of violence and have undertaken militant training in preparation for these activities.  In 2014, JI members arrested by authorities were reported to have been making preparations to launch terrorist attacks.  

The conflict in Syria and Iraq has resonated strongly with Indonesian extremists and has attracted the attention and support of many regional extremist groups.  Indonesian extremists, including members of JI, have travelled to Syria and Iraq to participate in the conflict.  JI members have participated in the conflict in Syria and Iraq, which was viewed as a defensive jihad to protect Muslims. Individuals travelling to Syria and Iraq from JI have developed relationships with several extremist networks active in the region, however a primary focus for JI remains their long term relationship with al-Qa`ida. From late 2012 onward, JI members have travelled to the conflict in Syria under the auspices of Hilal Ahmar Society Indonesia (HASI), and have sent delegations to Syria to assist the Islamist resistance.  These HASI delegations were sent in an apparent attempt to open channels for more direct participation in the conflict, which would include direct participation in the conflict and undertaking of paramilitary training.

Since, networks with social, familial, organisational and operational links to JI have been involved in attacks in the Philippines. Information and materiel seized in operations against JI‑linked individuals since 2010 demonstrates JI retains the capability and intent to use violence to achieve its goals – and networks linked to JI continue to plan to conduct terrorist attacks in South-East Asia.

  • In February 2015, JI member Zulkifli bin Hir (aka Marwan) was killed in the southern Philippines.  Zulkifli was linked to an attack plan around the time of Pope Francis’ visit to Manila in January 2015.
  • On 22 November 2012, Philippines-based Indonesian senior JI member Ustadz Sanusi was killed during a Philippines police and military arrest operation in Marawi. Sanusi fled to the southern Philippines following his involvement in the beheading of three Christian schoolgirls by JI members in Poso, Indonesia in 2005.
  • On 25 January 2011, senior Indonesian extremist and then JI member, Umar Patek, was arrested by Pakistani authorities in Abbottabad, Pakistan and was extradited to Indonesia on 11 August 2011. On 22 June 2012, Patek received a 20-year prison sentence for his role in the 2002 Bali bombings. Patek took refuge in the southern Philippines between 2003 and 2010, where he provided training to Philippine militants, including members of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG).
  • On 9 August 2010, former JI co-founder and Emir, Abu Bakar Ba’aysir was rearrested by Indonesian authorities. On 16 June 2011, Ba’aysir was sentenced to 15 years prison over his involvement in a militant training camp in Aceh which was disrupted in February 2010. Ba’aysir previously served two prison sentences from September 2003 to April 2004 and March 2005 to June 2006 for conspiracy in relation to the 2002 Bali bombings.

Details of the organisation

JI was founded in Malaysia on 1 January 1993 by Indonesian Islamist clerics Abdullah Sungkar and Abu Bakar Ba’asyir.  Despite disruption efforts by Indonesian authorities and their regional counterparts, JI remains a threat to the region.  JI continues to exist as a functional terrorist organisation and remains committed to its long-term strategy to overthrow the Indonesian Government and establish a pan-Islamic state in South-East Asia—through violence if necessary. 


The current JI leadership remains anti-Western in orientation, refusing to denounce violent jihad as a means of achieving its desired objectives and willing to conduct attacks against local sectarian targets. JI has not publicly appointed a new leader following the arrest of their previous Emir in June 2007.

JI remains operationally and organisationally distinct from other regional extremist groups. Despite counter-terrorism efforts by regional authorities, JI remains a functional paramilitary organisation, remains ideologically supportive of violence and has the capacity to use of violence whenever strategically opportune and deemed it could advance the group’s political objectives. However, JI’s leadership currently eschews attacks, preferring to focus on the consolidation of its membership and rebuilding of its support networks, in support of PUPJI, which extends to 2025.


JI’s current membership is not known publicly, but was estimated in 2007 to range between 900 and several thousand members, mostly concentrated in Java but spread throughout Indonesia and neighbouring South-East Asian countries, including Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Cambodia. Indications are that membership levels as of early 2016 may be at the levels they were in 2000-2001.

Counter-terrorism operations by Indonesian authorities over the past decade resulted in the death, arrest and incarceration of a number of JI members, including senior leaders. Additionally, in recent years a number of splits have occurred within extremist groups in Indonesia, including JI.  JI remain focussed on consolidation and rebuilding their resources.

While detention limits their participation in JI’s ongoing clandestine activities, some maintain their allegiance to the group and plan their re-engagement from within prison. Several detained JI members, or former members, have been released from prison in recent years and further detainees will likely be released in the coming years.

Recruitment and funding

JI activity has an emphasis on Dawah (Islamic outreach) and publishing – in order to prepare a mujahideen support base for future extremist activity. JI continues to prepare for Jihad by recruiting people, increasing their knowledge, education, network and finances.  JI continues to recruit covertly through personal contacts, religious study groups and from its network of 50 or more pesantren (Islamic boarding schools). JI’s affiliated schools continue to produce a new generation of potential mujahideen indoctrinated in an ideology sympathetic to JI’s long-term Islamist goals.  Prisons provide a further avenue for recruitment, as some detained JI members proselytise to fellow prisoners and visitors in efforts to recruit new members to the group.

Most of JI’s funding is derived from member contributions, Islamic publishing, affiliated charity and legitimate business activities. JI has also received funding from robberies and Middle East-based terrorist financiers in Saudi Arabia and Yemen.

Links to other terrorist organisations

Having a common heritage in DI has facilitated close links between JI and other violent extremist groups in Indonesia. These groups, including DI remnants, Jamaah Anshurat Tauhid (JAT), Front Pembela Islam (FPI), Majelis Mujahidin Indonesia (MMI), KOMPAK (Crisis Action Committee), Laskar Jundullah, Majelis Dakwah Umat Indonesia (MDUI) and Jamaah Anshorusy Syariah (JAS), provide recruits and support networks for JI activity. JI continues to recruit covertly through personal contacts, religious study groups and from its network of pesantren (Islamic boarding schools), some of which share links with other extremist groups, including JAT and KOMPAK.

JI’s domestic and regional extremist links were reinforced by the simultaneous presence of JI and non-JI South-East Asian militants in al-Qa’ida training camps in the late 1980s and early 1990s. JI’s ‘Afghan Alumni’ cultivated organisational and personal relationships with foreign extremist groups, such as al-Qa’ida, while training and fighting in Afghanistan. JIs involvement in the conflict in Syria and Iraq means that further organisational and personal relationships with foreign extremist groups, including al-Qa’ida’s representative in Syria Jabhat al-Nusra, will be developed.

Links were also forged with South-East Asian extremist groups, laying the foundation for the current JI collaboration with militant groups in the Philippines. JI has linkages to the ASG and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), who have provided refuge to JI-linked personnel despite the MILF and the Philippines Government having signed a peace framework agreement in October 2012.

Links to Australia

Australians are not currently involved with the activities of JI.  However, historically JI had a presence in Australia under the name Mantiqi IV (one of the four Mantiqis JI established).  Individuals involved with Mantiqi IV had considered undertaking an attack against Jewish interests in Australia; however, an attack did not occur.

Threats to Australian interests

Australians have been killed by attacks undertaken by JI. JI’s first successful anti-Western attack was the Bali bombings of October 2002 which killed 202 people, including 88 Australians. This was followed by the 2003 JW Marriot Hotel bombing and the 2004 bombing of the Australian Embassy in Jakarta. The second Bali bombing, which took place in 2005, killed four Australians. The second JW Marriot Hotel bombing took place in 2009, along with the simultaneous Ritz-Carlton bombing, which together killed seven civilians, including three Australians.

Listed by the United Nations or like-minded countries

The United Nations Security Council ISIL (Da’esh) and al-Qaida Sanctions Committee (formerly the United Nations Security Council Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee) has designated JI for targeted financial sanctions and an arms embargo since 25 October 2002.  It is listed as a proscribed terrorist organisation by the governments of Canada, New Zealand, the UK and the US.

Engagement in peace or mediation processes

JI are not engaged in peace or mediation processes.


On the basis of the above information and other classified information, the Australian Security and Intelligence Organisation assesses that JI continues to be directly or indirectly engaged in, preparing, planning, assisting in or fostering the doing of terrorist acts or advocates the doing of terrorist acts, involving threats to human life and serious damage to property.

In the course of pursuing its objectives, JI is known to have committed or threatened actions that:

  • cause, or could cause, death, serious harm to persons, serious damage to property, endangered life (other than the life of the person taking the action), or create a serious risk to the health or safety of the public or a section of the public;
  • are intended to have those effects;
  • are done with the intention of advancing JI’s political, religious or ideological causes;
  • are done with the intention of intimidating, the government of one or more foreign countries; and
  • are done with the intention of intimidating the public or sections of the public.