Research Note: Inside an Indonesian Online Library for Radical Materials

Research Note: Inside an Indonesian Online Library for Radical Materials


by Muhammad Haniff Hassan and Zulkifli Mohamed Sultan

 

Abstract

This Research Note provides a review of an Indonesian online library for radical materials. The objective of this review is to compile data and information that will contribute to the understanding of the online radicalisation phenomenon as well as the extremists themselves. Based on data found on the online library, this Research Note reports findings on the influence of Al-Maqdisi’s website; the emphasis on translation work of Arabic materials to Indonesian language by radicals and the value of Arabic materials to them. It also covers influential thinkers and ideologues and the use of the Wikipedia modus operandi to hasten the development of the website and effect mobilisation and recruitment, among others things. Based on the data found, this Research Note concludes that ideas matter to radicals.

 

Introduction

Radicals need to reach out to the public in order to spread their extremist ideology. The Internet has been an important platform for this purpose due to its open character and the tough restrictions imposed by some authorities on conventional media. In conjunction with the proliferation of radical materials on the Internet, self-radicalisation cases have emerged in many parts of the world. This has raised concerns within civil society and among governmental agencies.

To better understand this issue, studies have to be carried out on radical materials and the activities of extremist groups on the Internet in order to find the right solution to the problem. One such way is to study the data found on radical websites, as this can provide insights into the online radicalisation phenomenon. From the compiled data, a better understanding of the problem and solutions can be found. When pieced together with other relevant data, this information can be used to provide a larger and clearer picture of the phenomenon.

This Research Note takes a small step towards reaching that goal. It examines a radical website known as Maktabah Al-Tauhid Wal Jihad [1] (MTJ). It was created to be an online library that compiles ideological materials related to radical Islamism in the Indonesian language.

Admittedly, there are many radical websites in the Indonesian language. However, MTJ’s focus on radical Islamist materials makes it relevant for researchers interested on the Indonesian radicals’ treatment of, and sense of importance towards ideological materials and the role of radical ideology in radicalisation – a phenomenon that is being investigated in this Research Note. In comparison, many other websites are mixed with non-ideological materials.

To arrive at the goal, this research note takes a single-case study approach to analysing MTJ. This approach is defined as a study of a single case unit which will shed light for understanding of a phenomenon when combined with a larger class of similar units.[2]  Due to space constraints facing the authors, this Research Note will not venture into a comparative analysis with other similar units.[3]

This Research Note regards MTJ as one of many pieces of the mosaics that makes up the larger phenomenon of militant Islamism. It provides the relevant details that can be picked up by other scholars or be used in future research endeavours together with studies on other, similar units. There are many scholars out there who are more interested in the detailed data of research than the insights generated from a single case study.[4] This approach is not uncommon in the field of terrorism research. The field has produced numerous single-unit case study materials pertaining to individual profiles of terrorists, terrorist incident and terrorist group in various databases projects. Each approach can be used for an analysis that addresses the larger picture. Also, a single-unit case study is a recognised research methodology. Many scholars have defended this methodology and responded rigorously against its opponents.[5] Bent Flyvberg, a strong believer of the case-study research, argues that the case study approach is important research tool in two respects:

“First, it is important for the development of a nuanced view of reality, including the view that that human behaviour cannot be meaningfully understood as simply the rule-governed acts found at the lowest levels of the learning process, and in much theory. Second, cases are important for researchers’ own learning processes in developing skills needed to do good research. If researchers wish to develop their own skills to a high level, then concrete, context dependent experience is just as central for them as to professionals learning any other specific skills. Concrete experiences can be achieved via continued proximity to the studied reality and via feedback from those under study. Great distance to the object of study and lack of feedback easily lead to a stultified learning process, which in research can lead to ritual academic blind alleys, where the effect and usefulness of research becomes unclear and untested.”[6]

Like any research methodology, one just need to ensure that the researcher does not fall into its pitfall which is using data from a single unit to generalise without corroborating it with other similar units. Thus, it must be mentioned at the onset that insights generated at the end of the Research Note should not be regarded as a general phenomenon unless corroborated with other types of evidence.

This Research Note is divided into two parts: (i) a review of the data and information found on the website; and (ii) insights into the data and information collated achieved from the website.

 

Overview of the Library

The library’s Arabic name, Maktabah Al-Tauhid Wal Jihad (MTJ)  which means “Tauhid and Jihad Library” in English, clearly highlights its function and focus. MTJ was, when this research was done located at www.jahizuna.com.[7] The actual meaning of “jahizuna”,an Arabic word, depends on how it is spelt in Arabic letters. However, an image of the word written in Arabic posted on the website informs us that the word is composed of a command verb (fi`il amr), jahhiz (O you, equip / prepare), and a pronoun, na (us). It is not clear when exactly MTJ was created in the Internet; the earliest posting we found was on 28 Rajab 1432H (Islamic calendar) or 30 June 2011. It can be assumed that MTJ was founded in June 2011.

MTJ sets out to collect any material on the Islamist ideology and jihad practice so that it can be freely accessed and re-circulated in the Internet, with the objectives of (i) educating Muslims in what it considers to be the true understanding of Islam and (ii) defending Islam from attempts (presumably from enemies of Islam) to distort it, with the hope that these efforts will contribute to the establishment of Islam in Indonesia as understood by MTJ’s founders.

Although it is not explicitly stated, the website’s name and function points to the influence of Al-Maqdisi’s website, popularly known as Minbar Al-Tauhid Wa Al-Jihad (Tauhid and Jihad Pulpit), which functions as the largest online repository for radical and jihadist materials. It is also clear from its name - the word chosen for the website’s URL address - that the website is bent towards radical and jihadist ideology, seeking to propagate it online among Indonesian Muslims.

MTJ has four main components: (i) a repository of radical materials in Indonesian language, (ii) an online study/tutorial of Islam from their perspective, (iii) forums, and (iv) links to various other radical online sites in various languages. The repository hosts textual, audio and video materials, accessible to anyone for online reading and download. However, certain materials are restricted to those who have an account with MTJ. To register, a person needs to submit his username and e-mail, and state whether he is willing to volunteer for translation work for MTJ through an online form. He will be given a password for his account upon approval. The content of these materials are diverse: treatises on jihad and Islamic creed, media statements from various radical groups, biographies, analyses of current affairs, and creative writing related to jihad.

It must be noted here that MTJ is not the first Indonesian library for radical Islam, nor is it the pioneer in translation works of radical materials to Indonesian language. There was an attempt with a similar purpose in the form of an Indonesian language version of Al-Maqdisi’s Minbar Al-Tawhid Wa Al-Jihad prior to the founding of MTJ. It involved translation of materials found in Al-Maqdisi’s original Arabic site.[8]  However, this fact does not devalue MTJ’s research importance. MTJ is clearly quantitatively and quantitatively superior to Al-Maqdisi’s Indonesian language mirror site, being both more current and more active.

For comparison, the latter hosts only 13 translated books, 1 online magazine and 5 articles. Authors related to the materials are:

  • Abu Muhammad Al-Maqdisi (7 books and 1 article)
  • Ali Al-Khudhair (2 books)
  • Abdullah Azzam (1 book)
  • Abu Mus`ab Al-Zarqawi (1 book)
  • Osama bin Laden (1 book)
  • Inspire magazine (November 2010)
  • Hussein Mahmoud (1 article)
  • Abu Yahya Al-Libi (1 article)
  • Muhammad bin Abdul Wahhab (1 book)
  • Abu Saad Al-Amili (1 article)
  • At-Tawbah Forum translation team (1 article)

As for MTJ, the following sections will describe in detail its superior contents (both qualitatively and quantitatively) with a focus on its repository features.

Data retrieved from Al-Maqdisi’s Indonesian mirror site also indicate that it is largely dormant compared to MTJ. The oldest post found in the former was in October 2009. There were only 4 posts in 2009, none in 2010, 4 in 2011 and less than 11 for 2012. Total post of all materials (all in just on single webpage) is only 19 for a period of 3 years.[9] This figure pales when compared with MTJ that has managed to arrive at its current state (described below) in less than a year (at the time of writing this article). The prolific character of MTJ in terms of materials offered and activity outputs means that it is in a better position to provide more information for better insights on Indonesian radical activities online.

 

Textual Materials

Textual materials make up the largest content in MTJ. They come in the form of articles and books written by prominent and radical leaders, scholars, ideologues and activists, with affiliations to different radical groups and from different nationalities. This is in line with MTJ’s declared policy to be non-partisan to any particular radical group. Materials written by non-Indonesians and in foreign languages are translated to the Indonesian language. MTJ does not post textual materials in non-Indonesian languages. There are about 350 textual materials from more than 160 individuals and 10 group entities to be found on the website.[10] Although most of the individuals’ countries of origin are not known, several can be traced to 13 different countries.[11]

The following are the top 10 individuals (with their country of origin in brackets) based on the amount of materials hosted by MTJ.

Name

No. of items

1. Abdul Qadir Abdul Aziz [12] (Egypt)

23

2. Abu Muhammad Al-Maqdisi [13] (Jordan)

17

3. Abu Mus`ab Al-Suri [14] (Syria)

13

4. Abu Mus`ab Al-Zarqawi [15] (Jordan)

12

5. Abdul Mun`im Mustafa Halimah Abu Bashir [16]
    (Unknown)

11

6. Urwah [17] (Indonesia)

11

7. Abdullah Azzam [18] (Palestine)

8

8. Ali Ghufron [19] (Indonesia)

7

9. Abu Sulaiman Aman Abdurrahman [20] (Indonesia)

6

10. Yusuf Al-`Uyairy [21] (Saudi Arabia)

6

This list reflects, to certain extent, the popularity of certain individuals among the visitors. It can be deduced that these visitors are largely Indonesians because of the official language of MTJ. Due to the nature of the content, it can also be concluded that the visitors are sympathisers or supporters of jihadism and radical Islamism.

MTJ does not provide a count for the materials read or downloaded. Due to this, we cannot gauge the most read or downloaded items to corroborate the popularity of the listed individuals. The list corroborates the MTJ jihadist leanings because the majority of these writers are well-known individuals in jihadist circles, except for Abdul Qadir Abdul Aziz, who has renounced his previous jihadi ideas and has become a strong critic of Al-Qaeda. However, none of his revisionist materials are translated and uploaded in MTJ. All of the 23 materials are from his pre-revisionist period. Interestingly, the large majority of the textual materials belong to contemporary individuals. Classical works total fewer than 10. They belong to Ibn Taimiyah, Ibn Nuhas and Ibn Al-Qayyim Al-Jauziyah.

 

Audio Materials

MTJ’s library features 39 audio materials, all in the Indonesian language. The list of the individuals and the number of their audio contributions are as follows:

Name

No. of items

1. Abu Bakar Ba`ashir [22]

14

2. Abdullah Sungkar [23]                   

6

3. Abu Sulaiman Aman Abdurrahman [24]

6

4. RDSFM [25]

4

5. Urwah [26]

3

6. M. Natsir [27]

2

7. Aris Munandar [28]

1

8. Abu Umar [29]

1

9. Abu Baruudah [30]

1

 

Video Materials

There are 75 videos available in different languages and of different quality (high, medium or low), to service users with different bandwidths. The videos contain lectures on theology and jihad, jihadist operations, documentaries, commentaries and bomb making instructions.

 

Links

Like other radical websites, MTJ also provides its visitors with links to similar extremist websites. MTJ posted links to 35 Indonesian sites that were categorised as follows:

  • News (4 links)
  • Jihad forum (2 links)
  • Monotheist da’wah (Islamic propagation) and resistance websites (5 links)
  • Monotheist da’wah and resistance blogs (22 links)
  • Resistance groups (2 links)

MTJ also recommends to its visitors 11 non-Indonesian websites, namely:

  • Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan website [31] (in Arabic)
  • Al-Shomud Islamic magazine [32] (Arabic / Taliban news)
  • Kavkaz Center [33] (English / news on Chechnya)
  • Shumukhul Islam Network [34] (Arabic / forum)
  • Al-Fidaa Islamic Network [35] (Arabic / forum)
  • Ansar Mujahidin Network [36] (Arabic / forum)
  • Ansar Mujahidin English Network [37] (in English / forum)
  • Minbar Al-Tawhed Wa Al-Jihad [38] (in Arabic / online library)
  • Nukhbah Media [39] (in Arabic / jihad news)
  • Al-Maqreze Centre [40] (in Arabic, a London based research and study entity)
  • Jihad archive website [41] (in Arabic / archive of jihad materials)

Again, the nature of the links corroborate MTJ’s jihadist leaning.

 

Online Study / Tutorial

MTJ offers free study and tutorial materials, in Indonesian language, for individuals who are interested to learn about their interpretation of Islam. Students learn about Islam for free because they are granted a MTS’ “study scholarship”. This does not mean MTJ is awarding a sum of money to selected applicants to study Islam. Rather, applicants will receive free tutorials and lessons on a particular extremist interpretation of Islam or on any course offered by MTJ recognised “scholars”. Applicants who received this scholarship are required to log into the class as scheduled or instructed by MTJ or course facilitator until the completion of the course.

MTJ offers two types of online learning:

  • “Synchronous e-learning” or real-time learning, where the instructor and the student are in a virtual classroom at the same time. MTJ makes use of Internet chat rooms to facilitate this.
  • “Asynchronous e-learning”, where the instructor and the student interact in a virtual classroom but not simultaneously at the same time. The study and tutorial is carried out in a modular format, using e-books, videos and a discussion forum as tools.

Interested individuals only have to be computer literate, have access to a computer and Internet connection, be it personal or through Internet cafés, using the Mozilla Firefox browser. The study is open to either gender, as long as the person is sincere in his or her intention, i.e. willing to please Allah. MTJ guarantees that all its instructors are of the Ahli Sunnah Wal Jamaah (Sunni) sect and adhere to Salafism.

MTJ claims that it uses a facilitative competency-based model to effect learning for its students, where the instructor only facilitates the learning with the help of multi-media platforms. Students - the learning subjects - are guided to play key roles to generate knowledge of Islamist ideology themselves in a flexible manner. The learning approach is task-based. According to MTJ, students are given task-based activities with real examples for immediate application to achieve learning objectives. What this really means in actual learning experience and practice is not clear because the writers of this article were not privileged to access the course themselves.

The information provided by MTJ informs us that this online learning and tutorial service is designed to promote better a understanding of MTJ’s interpretation of Islam. However, at the time of writing, MTJ was conducting three modules (PR1101, PR1102 and PR1103), based on an announcement they had made in the website, that were related to computer skill. PR1101 offered the participant a lesson in the basic principles of staying anonymous on the Internet through the use of a proxy. It has 11 registered participants. PR1102 and PR1103 offered the same content as PR1101 for other batches of participants. These two modules had 15 and 11 participants, respectively. No module relating to Islam itself has been announced and conducted yet, based on the information released by MTJ itself.

The nature of the actual learning process and experience, as well as the popularity of this service among MTJ’s visitors, are not known as no information is available to ascertain its effectiveness and impact on radicalisation. Nevertheless, the approach taken points to the radicals’ creativity and inventiveness in pursuing their mission and agenda of promoting their extremist ideology in an effort of recruiting more followers. MTJ is the first radical Indonesian website that offers online learning for visitors. Although there appears to be a glitch at the implementation level i.e. the number of courses is limited and restricted to computer skill, instead of Islamic learning which are of more important to MTJ’s mission, the initiative still points to the extremists’ continuous attempt of exploring new methods of propaganda.

 

Translation

Two hundred of 350 written materials—comprising thousands of pages—in MTJ are translated from other languages into the Indonesian language. A large portion of the translations is from Arabic, with only a handful coming from English. The top 10 personalities whose works have been translated and uploaded can be seen in the above  section on Textual Material). What is interesting to note from MTJ’s translation initiative, as part of its effort to create an online library, is that it is done through volunteers. MTJ’s administrators emulate the modus operandi of Wikipedia, the free online encyclopaedia, which also grew to its present size thanks to voluntary contributions from members of the public. The administrators upload a list of materials that require translation and editing work and invite MTJ’s visitors and account holders to perform the task voluntarily. Apart from that, the website administrators also invite those who have translated suitable materials out of personal initiative to submit their works to them so that the materials can be considered for incorporation into MTJ’s library.

Many Indonesian radical websites thrive on materials contributed voluntarily by visitors. They share news, audios, videos, images etc. at forum threads, comment sections and guest books. However, only the MTJ website thus far has deliberately mobilised its visitors for the purpose of populating its library with relevant materials and translation of materials predetermined by its administrator. These invitations generally receive good responses from visitors and members. Based on the information gathered from the site, there are at least four individuals and two groups engaging actively and responding frequently to the invitation.

Although translation work and the dissemination of translated materials online are not new, MTJ has brought the initiative to a higher level. By incorporating Wikipedia’s modus operandi into this effort, MTJ has succeeded in four ways:

  • Quick production of translated materials, as can be deducted from the amount of translated material in the MTJ library in less than a year of operation;
  • Mobilisation of skills and energy for the purpose of radicalisation;
  • Effecting radicalisation at many levels, i.e. new recruits, sympathisers and hardcore activists;
  • Sustaining extremist ideology and the radicalisation process in the society.

This demonstrates again the ingenuity and inventiveness of the MTJ administrators, as does its online study/tutorial initiative.

 

Forum

Unlike other radical websites, MTJ’s forum is inactive. There is no thread or posting. There is a possibility that the forum was under maintenance at the time of our review or that it is restricted and accessible only to selected individuals. Nevertheless, MTJ has received many notes from visitors, as recorded in its visitors’ book section and comments and in its Yahoo Messenger chat box.

 

Insights

A search on militant ideology in the Militant Ideology Atlas identifies Al-Maqdisi as the most influential living jihadist, second only to Sayyid Qutb among all jihadist theorists.[42] It also lists Abdul Qadir Abdul Aziz (described as “one of the most influential Egyptian jihadi theorist” whose works “have been used by jihadi groups like those of Zarqawi to justify a number of attacks”), Abdullah Azzam and Yusuf Al-`Uyairi, among the most influential modern jihadist thinkers.[43]

It must be noted that Al-Maqdisi, Abdul Aziz, Azzam and Al-`Uyayri are listed in the above top 10 individuals with the most materials hosted by the MTJ list. As mentioned earlier, these individuals are ranked based on the number of their materials translated and uploaded by MTJ’s contributors and administrators and not the quantity of their output. There must be reasons for MTJ contributors and administrators’ decision to translate and upload materials belonging to a particular individual; these reasons indicate preference and interest. It is logical to assume that a radical who contributes translation work to MTJ will not put make such an effort if the translated material does not interest him or is not in line with his own understanding of Islam. The list thus infers the importance and influence of these individuals among radicals. It also correlates with the findings made in the Atlas on the importance and influence of these individuals among radicals. This provides an important reference point of study and analysis for the purpose of counter-radicalisation works.

Much has been said about the role of ideas in radicalisation. One way to ascertain the centrality of counter-ideology in countering jihadist terrorism is to assess the importance of ideology to the jihadists themselves through their words and deeds. Vigorous efforts have been put up to run MTJ, including translation and online study, pointing to the fact that ideas indeed matter very much to radicals. Not only are ideas valued for their personal benefit, they are also important for winning the sympathy of people and recruiting new members. The extremists behind MTJ would not have spent such huge resources and efforts on ideational materials—as those seen in MTJ—if these materials were not important to their agenda and did not serve their cause or if there was no demand for them.

Although data coming from MTJ represent only a small segment of the Indonesian radical community, it correlates with the larger Muslim radical community. At the local level, the popularity of jihadist publications in Indonesia, as reported by the International Crisis Group (ICG) , points  in the same direction. In its conclusion, the ICG report noted, “As top leaders argue for consolidation and rebuilding, it is clear that recruitment of new members is critical—and publishing, dissemination and discussion of texts on jihad can play an important part in that effort.”[44] Also, the ideological work of the first Bali bombers is another good example. Imam Samudra, the operational leader of the 2002 bombing, published a book detailing his worldview and theological justification for his action.[45] Despite being incarcerated, he and his two accomplices, Mukhlas and Amrozi, have managed to deliver a constant supply of their ideas through their writings. Each  member of the trio published a book to promote their ideology just before their execution.[46]

At the international level, Al-Maqdisi’s website,[47] which functions as the largest repository of jihadist intellectual materials and inspires MTJ, points in the same direction. These materials are not mere narratives or stories about the world to win people over. There are hundreds of materials that cover not only all matters of jihad but also the more important jihadist worldview that underlies their actions as well as fatwas on various theological issues. The importance of this website and its contents is underscored when compared to the  above-mentioned  Militant Ideology Atlas.[48]

It has been indicated (under the section on Textual Materials) that MTJ is inspired by Al-Maqdisi’s website. Thus, it can be argued that MTJ’s attempt to replicate Al-Maqdisi’s website in the Indonesian language represents a form and an example of online radicalisation, i.e. copy one original initiative and expand it further. Indeed, MTJ not only seeks to duplicate Al-Maqdisi’s website but also provides improvement by adding new features such as an online study and a video repository that includes bomb making instructions.

The MTJ initiative highlights the fact that radical groups are dynamic and creative. They continuously strive to overcome challenges and take good advantage of any opportunity that comes along to achieve their objectives more effectively. Counter-radicalism works must hold the same traits to succeed. They need to observe the changes in the radical landscape and modify their response. Failure to do so will result in formulating policies that become ineffective due to counter-action by radicals.

The huge efforts put into operating MTJ and populate it with hundreds of materials and translated works within a year since its creation would not have been possible without a sizeable pool of radicals who continue to contribute to sustain and maintain it. It provides good data on the high level of their commitment and determination. If other Indonesian online radical sites, as those listed in the MTJ links, are brought into the picture, it becomes evident that the radicalism problem may have reached a worrying level. This means there is still more to be done in fighting radicalism in Indonesia, despite the hundreds of extremists already captured and imprisoned.

MTJ’s translation works highlight the fact that resources in the Arabic language hold great value and influence among local Indonesian radical groups. In this regard, the translation of counter-radical materials from Arabic to Indonesian should be considered, especially the revisionist works of the leaders of the Egyptian Al-Jamaah Al-Islamiah and Sheikh Abdul Qadir Abdul Aziz, a.k.a. Dr. Fadl, who are now the biggest critics of Al-Qaeda. It is worthwhile to note here that radicals are still distributing the old writings of Sheikh Abdul Qadir, while ignoring his recent ones. To date, these revisionists (former jihadists) have produced more than 25 volumes of texts to explain their past ideological flaws and condemn Al-Qaeda. These writings have contributed to the effort of de-radicalisation, which has made a number of radical group members turn over a new leaf in Egypt, Algeria and Libya. The spread and distribution of these materials from disenchanted jihadists can pose big challenge to the radicals’ efforts.

Critics among the radicals dismissed these revisionist works by highlighting that they were made while the turncoats were in prison and under the watchful eyes of the authorities. Thus, their credibility has been questioned. However, the credibility of revisionist works has been studied and ascertained by many independent researchers.[49] In this regard, Amr Hamzawy and Sarah Gebrowsky comment:

“… the fact that many of the prominent revisionist voices in al-Jama`at al-Islamiya and al-Jihad were or are still imprisoned in Egypt does not diminish the credibility of their renunciation of violence or their refutation of extremism….. their new ideas and views have evolved genuinely and cannot be reduced to a simplistic, conspiracy theory driven, extortionist explanation.”[50]

Hamzawy and Gebrowski then noted that al-Jama`a al-Islamiya has upheld its commitment to the revised ideology since 1997 and has abstained from violence for the last ten years.[51] In addition, the released revisionist leaders had the opportunity to take advantage of the chaotic period following the Tahrir revolution in Egypt when the authorities were weak, and could, once free, have abandon their revisionist positions for their old ideology and return to the advocacy of a violent jihad. However, none of this has happened. Instead, Dr. Fadl and his colleagues remain steadfast in their revisionist stand. In fact, they were so cautious that they refused to join the revolution - to the disappointment of some of the youth in Tahrir Square. Similarly for leaders of revisionist trend in Libya, they refused to engage in indiscriminate attacks and suicide bombings that are the hallmark of Al-Qaeda and its associates when participating in armed fighting against the Gaddafi’s forces.

 

Closing Remarks

Although MTJ’s presence in the virtual world poses the risk of a spread of radicalism in Indonesia, it also provides useful data for researchers who are seeking to understand the phenomenon and who try to find a solution to the problem of extremism in the name of religion. Data found on the MTJ website have been useful to provide information about people behind it and those who frequented it: their ideas, behaviour, level of commitment, skill and creativity, in relation to their mission and environment have become clearer. Studies on other online radical websites can uncover more such information. These studies can be put together to generate insights that will improve our understanding of the problem of online radicalisation in Indonesia. However, a word of caution is warranted here: one must not be quick to make a linear conclusion about offline activities based only on online indicators because activities online do not automatically translate into offline behaviour. What people say and what people do are two different things, although they are related.

About the Authors:
Muhammad Haniff Hassan is Associate Research Fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. He can be contacted at [email protected]
Zulkifli Mohamed Sultan is a Research Analyst in the International Centre of Political Violence and Terrorism Research, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. He can be contacted at [email protected].

Notes
[1] All information about the websites in this Research Note was, unless stated otherwise,  valid as of late  February 2012.

[2] See John Gerring, “What Is a Case Study and What Is It Good For?”, American Political Science Review, Vol. 98, No. 2, May 2004, pp. 342 and 344.

[3] Ibid, pp. 347-248.

[4] Bent Flyvbjerg, “Five misunderstandings about case-study research”, Qualitative Inquiry, Vol. 12, No. 2, April, 2006, pp. 429-432.

[5] For an example of strong defence for case study research against its opponents, see ibid. 

[6] Ibid, p. 422.

[7] The IP address of the website is 173.245.61.43. Its ISP is CloudFlare and it is hosted in the United States. See https://www.cloudflare.com/. This information is provided by http://whatismyipaddress.com/ip-lookup.

[8] This page is located at http://www.tawhed.net/c.php?i=42 (as of 13 September 2012).

[9] The date of posting is an as estimation. It is determined from the date that appeared in the Zip file when a file is retrieved for online reading or downloaded for saving.

[10] The 10 group entities whose materials can be found on the MTJ website are:

  • The Unjustmedia (English jihad-related news website);
  • Arrahmah.com (Indonesian website);
  • Forum Islam Al-Tawbah (Indonesia online jihad forum);
  • Global Islamic Media Front (Al-Qaeda media front);
  • Saveabb.com (website dedicated for the release of Abu Bakar Baasyir);
  • Jihad Megz (Indonesian jihad magazine);
  • Inspire (Al-Qaeda English online magazine);
  • Al-Shamikhah (Arabic jihad magazine);
  • Al-Shumud (Taliban online magazine).

[11] The countries are Indonesia, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Palestine, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Jordan, Syria, Yemen and the United States.

[12] His real name is Sayyid Imam Al-Sharif, a.k.a. Dr. Fadl. He is the former leader of the Egyptian Tanzim Al-Jihad and mentored Ayman Al-Zawahiri. He was a respected jihadist ideologue until he publicly renounced Al-Qaeda’s ideology in 2007 in his writing titled Tarshid Al-`Amal Al-Jihadi Fi Misr Wa Al-`Alam [Rationalising Jihad in Egypt and the World]. Hed has since then become a strong critic of jihadist groups.

[13] His real name is `Isham Muhammad Tahir Al-Barqawi. He is a prominent and respected jihadist scholar. A website dedicated to him by his followers can be found at www.tawhed.ws. The website is widely recognised as the largest repository of radical Arabic materials.

[14] His real name is Mustafa Setmariam Nasar. He is a well-known jihadist strategist who popularised the idea of networked or leaderless jihadist resistance in his book, Da'wat Al-Muqawamah Al-Islamiyah Al-'Alamiyah [The Global Islamic Resistance Call]. It was reported recently that he had been released from his imprisonment in Syria but he has not surfaced in public.

[15] His real name is Ahmad Fadil Al-Nazal Al-Khalayilah. He is the late leader of Al-Qaeda in Iraq.

[16] Not known.

[17] Not known.

[18] He is known as ‘Father of Jihad’ because of his role in mobilising Muslims all over the world to participate in jihad against the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. He founded Maktab Al-Khidmat [Mujahidin Services Office], which metamorphosed to Al-Qaeda. He was assassinated in November 1989.

[19] He was one of the three key figures found guilty of executing the Bali bombing in 2002  and was executed for this crime in November 2008.

[20] He was sentenced to nine years in prison in December 2010 for his involvement in Aceh training camps.

[21] He was the first leader of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and was killed during an encounter with Saudi security forces in June 2003.

[22] He co-founded the Indonesian Jemaah Islamiyah with Abdullah Sungkar. He was its leader after the death of the latter. He founded Jamaah Ansar Al-Tauhid and is its current leader. He is serving a 15-year prison term for his involvement in plans of terror and illegal militant training camp in Aceh.

[23] He was the first leader of the Indonesian Jemaah Islamiyah. He died of a heart attack in October 1999.

[24] He was sentenced to nine years in prison in December 2010 for his involvement in Aceh training camps.

[25] Not known.

[26] Not known.

[27] He was a prominent Islamic scholar and politician. He became the fifth Prime Minister of Indonesia ,running on the ticket of the Indonesian Masyumi party. He also founded Dewan Dakwah Islamiyah Indonesia. He died in February 1993.

[28] He was a senior member of Jemaah Islamiyah and an aide to Abu Bakar Ba`ashir. He was listed in the UN list of individuals and entities associated with Al-Qaeda.

[29] Not known.

[30] Not known.

[31] See http://shahamat-arabic.com/ (29 February 2012).

[32] See http://alsomod-iea.info/ (29 February 2012).

[33] See http://kavkazcenter.com/eng/ (29 February 2012).

[34] See http://www.shamikh1.info/vb, https://www.shamikh1.info/vb, http://180.235.150.135/~shamikh/vb, http://180.235.150.136/~shamikh/vb, https://180.235.150.135/~shamikh/vb (29 February 2012).

[35] See https://www.alfidaa.org/vb/, https://www.alfidaa.biz/vb/, http://www.alfidaa.info/vb/, http://www.al-fidaa.com/vb/, https://112.137.166.232/~fa/vb/, http://112.137.166.232/~fa/vb (29 February 2012).

[36] See https://as-ansar.com/vb, https://as-ansar.org/vb, http://202.71.103.132/vb (29 February 2012).
https://202.71.103.132/vb (29 February 2012).

[37] See www.ansar1.info, https://www.ansar1.info (29 February 2012).

[38] http://www.mtj.tw , http://www.tawhed.net, http://www.tawhed.ws, http://www.alsunnah.info, http://www.almaqdese.net, http://www.abu-qatada.com (29 February 2012).

[39] See http://www.nokbah.com (29 February 2012).

[40] See http://www.almaqreze.net (29 February 2012).

[41] See. http://www.jarchive.net/index.php, https://www.jarchive.net/index.php (29 February 2012).

[42] William McCants, Militant Ideology Atlas – Executive Report. Westpoint, N.Y.: Combating Terrorism Center, November 2006, pp. 6 & 8. Available at: http://www.army.mil/professionalWriting/volumes/volume5/january_2007/1_07_3.html (29 February 2012).

[43] Ibid, p. 8.

[44] “Indonesia: Jemaah Islamiyah’s Publishing Industry”, International Crisis Group, Asia Report No. 147, February 2008, p. 16.

[45] See Imam Samudra, Aku Melawan Teroris . Solo: Jazera, 2004.

[46] See Imam Samudra, Sekuntum Rosela Pelipur Lara. Jakarta: Ar-Rahmah Media, 2009; Ali Ghufran (Mukhlas), Mimpi Suci Di Balik Jeruji Besi. Jakarta: Ar-Rahmah Media, 2009; Amrozi bin Nurhashim, Senyum Terakhir Sang Mujahid. Jakarta: Ar-Rahmah Media, 2009.

[47] The website can be found at http://www.tawhed.ws (29 February 2012).

[48] William McCants, Militant Ideology Atlas – Executive Report, op. cit., p. 7.

[49] One important work pertaining to jihadist revision initiatives is Omar Ashour, The De-radicalization of Jihadists: Transforming Armed Islamist Movements. New York: Routledge, 2009.

[50] Amr Hamzawy and Sarah Debrowski, From Violence to Moderation: Al-Jama`a al-Islamiya and al-Jihad, Carnegie Research Notes, Carnegie Middle East Center, no. 20, April 2010, p. 4.

[51] Ibid.

 



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