9 Brown J. World Aff. 57 (2002-2003)
Laskar Jihad and the Conflict in Ambon

handle is hein.journals/brownjwa9 and id is 71 raw text is: Laskar Jihad
and the
Conflict in Ambon
KIRSTEN E. SCHULZE
Senior Lecturer
International History
London School of Economics
renzied slaughter, savage mutilations, forced conversions, and the wanton
destruction of property characterized the conflict in Ambon following its
eruption on 19 January 1999. Driven by the festering wounds of past
colonial injustices against Muslims and present Christian fears, as well as by
rumors of a Christian conspiracy to wipe out Islam, on the one hand, and of
Islamization policies on the other, it claimed an estimated 9,000 lives and
produced more than 400,000 refugees. Yet it was not until the emergence of
Laskar Jihad and the group's determination to wagejihad in Ambon that Jakarta
politicians started to take note, albeit without doing much to address the
situation. The call forjihad also attracted international attention, again without
significant action. In fact, only after the events of 11 September did Laskar
Jihad's interpretation of Islam, paramilitary presence, and above all its
international links to the Taliban in Afghanistan and Abu Sayyaf in the
Philippines come under closer scrutiny. This brought pressure on the Indonesian
government to find a solution to the Ambon conflict, which resulted in the
February 2002 Malno II Declaration.
Evidence of al-Qaeda network links to the Taliban and Abu Sayyaf has
raised questions regarding possible ties Laskar Jihad may have to al-Qaeda.
While such global connections need to be taken very seriously-not least because
they have boosted Laskar Jihad's military capacity and have provided it with an
ideological framework-Laskar Jihad is essentially a homegrown rather than

Spring 2002 - Volume IX, Issue 1

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