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Unlicensed To Kill

Countering Imam Samudra's Justification for the Bali Bombing 


"It has been widely accepted that the current threat of terrorism from Muslim groups can only be overcome through a multi-pronged approach: Counter terrorism not only as a military “shooting war” or law enforcement operation, but as a “battle of ideas” as well. Measures to disrupt and degrade a terrorist group’s military and economic infrastructure should be supplemented with measures targeting the terrorist group’s ideas and propaganda. If left unchecked, both will continue to harvest sympathy, transform it into logistical assistance and eventually generate a new pool of terrorist recruits. 

For a “battle of ideas” to be successful and contribute to the success of the “bigger war”, understanding extremist and terrorist ideas is very important. Proper study of the ideas must be made before counter-ideological responses can be devised or alternatives ideas can be offered. In this respect, effective counter-ideological work against terrorist ideology requires authentic documents linked to individual terrorists or terrorist organizations.TPD

Imam Samudra’s book entitled Aku Melawan Teroris is significant. It allows the researcher to study the underlying ideas and motivation of the Bali bombing and possibly other terrorist acts committed by members of Jemaah Islamiyah and other jihadists. It also facilitates researchers to understand the specific dynamics of extremism in Southeast Asia and helps governments to devise effective counter-ideological initiatives within anti-terrorism policies. 

Imam Samudra was convicted by Indonesian court and was sentenced to death on 10 September 2003 for masterminding the Bali bombing that killed 200 people and wounded 300 on 12 October 2002. He was the field commander for the perpetrators. 

Aku Melawan Teroris was authored by Imam Samudra when he was under detention by the Indonesian authority from his arrest on 26 November 2002. It was published in 2004 and became a bestseller. 

The book contains his confession and justification for committing the Bali bombing. The book informed the public of the basis for his action as manifested in the Bali bombing that he had neither committed the act blindly nor had he contradicted the teaching of Islam as claimed by the authorities and his critics."

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Individual views espoused in this article/paper do not necessarily reflect the views of the Portmir Foundation and have been included to represent the variety of different opinions that may exist on a single issue. In accordance with our democratic charter, the Portmir Foundation values debate in a spirit of mutual tolerance and understanding, even when such views contradict those of the Foundation.

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