The World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) has published a report warning the United States government that it should not be ignorant of the terror threat growing in Indonesia, the largest Muslim nation in the world.
The massive economic growth occurring in the region is likely to soon affect U.S. foreign policy - the Strait of Malacca is one of the world's most important strategic sea lanes where close to 40 percent of global trade takes place, linking Asia with the Middle East and Europe.
South-East Asia's largest terror group, Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), which the United Nations has linked to Al-Qaida and the Taliban, have been kept under tight control in the region for years – but the WEA reveals in its report that the organization is growing in power.The report details several bombings and terroristic attacks in Asia that JL were linked to following the 9/11 Twin Tower attacks.
The Indonesian counter-terrorism squad Detachment 88, funded by Australian and Unites States outlets, has been successful in killing a lot of JI leaders, but the International Crisis Group (ICG) revealed in research material published in July that the terrorist group is regrouping.
"In the face of strong police pressure, they [jihadists] are finding ways to regroup on the run, in prison and through internet forums, military training camps and arranged marriages," the group stated.
"The problem of terrorism is motivated by radical ideology, so the movement doesn't automatically end with the capture and death of key figures," said Indonesian National Anti-Terror Agency chief Ansyaad Mbai in September 2011, speaking of getting to the heart of the problem in dealing with terror groups.
Attacks against religious minorities in Indonesia are well documented – the Setara Institute has researched into 129 such attacks this year alone, mostly against the Christian and Ahmadiyya (Islamic reformist movement) minorities.
One particularly violent incident involved Islamists from West Java smashing in the heads of three Ahmadiyyas as police looked on, shouting Allahu Akbar (Allah is the Greatest).
The WEA report continues with the warning: "Jakarta may not check extremism, at least in the near future. And President Barack Obama, who spent part of his childhood in Indonesia, perhaps sees the archipelago as an international public relations opportunity to portray himself to the Muslim world as a good guy who respects Islam."
The organization notes that the Unites States may feel hesitant to upset officials in Jakarta, the capital, because it is directly competing with China over economic opportunities in the area – but that should not be an excuse not to take the threat of growing extremism in the country seriously.
Over 86 percent of Indonesia's 250 million population remains Muslim, with Christians accounting for less than 10 percent of the total population.