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Imam Samudra's Justification for Bali Bombing

NCJ Number
Studies in Conflict & Terrorism Volume: 30 Issue: 12 Dated: December 2007 Pages: 1033-1056
Muhammad Haniff Bin Hassan
Date Published
December 2007
24 pages
This article examines the rationale for the terrorist bombing of the Bali night club packed with foreign tourists in October 2002, as told by Imam Samudra, who was convicted of the bombing by an Indonesian court in September 2003 and sentenced to death.
Imam Samudra is a member of the Jemaah Islamiyah, a splinter group of Indonesian Darul Islam movement formed by former Darul Islam fugitives based in Malaysia, with a strong link with al Qaeda. Jemaah Islamiyah is committed to Islamic "jihad," which Imam Samudra defines as doing your best to uphold God's law, propagating and establishing it, and fighting the infidels who fight against Islam and the Muslims. He believes that the permission to engage in violence is given under Islamic law when war is being wrongfully waged against Muslims by their enemies. What can be classified as a limited defensive war against Muslim enemies can be extended, however, under Imam Samudra's belief that Muslims are commanded to take up the sword so that "only God is worshipped and no others will be ascribed divinity to, except Him." He believes this mandate must be obeyed by attacking infidels wherever they can be found in homogeneous groups, i.e., wherever Americans and their allies congregate separate from Muslims. Further, he believes that a single devastating attack on such a target is preferable to multiple attacks with minimal outcome. The most critical aspect of his thinking is his concept of perpetual war. He holds that non-Muslims will never allow Muslims to live in peace. Thus, armed jihad is the only acceptable posture toward non-Muslims. The majority of Muslim scholars maintain that only defensive wars are justified, i.e., when Muslims are subjected to unprovoked attacks. 74 notes


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