Apocalyptic Thought, Conspiracism and Jihad in Indonesia

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    The impact of apocalyptic and conspiracist discourses on Indonesian jihadi thinking and behaviour has been little studied, but evidence in recent years is mounting that it has been significant. Many Indonesians who joined Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq from 2013 were driven in part by a belief that the final cataclysmic battle between Islam and its foes would occur there imminently, and the families responsible for the 2018 Surabaya suicide bombing which killed more than two dozen people were convinced that the world would soon end. This article examines Indonesia's contemporary apocalyptic literature, with an emphasis on the two main genres: populist and jihadist. It argues that the populist forms, though sensational, highly conspiratorial and commercially motivated, are more insidious than commonly assumed, and can have a "priming effect" upon radicalizing readers by deepening their sense of crisis and grievance, thus inclining them to extreme views and actions. Jihadi apocalypticism has a stronger scholarly basis, but is subject to serious debate and some scepticism within Islamist circles. For some jihadis, such discourses bring a compelling urgency that triggers violence, but for others, apocalypticism is viewed more warily due to the risk that it impairs judgement and leads to erroneous strategies.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)63-85
    JournalContemporary Southeast Asia
    Volume41
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2019

    Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Apocalyptic Thought, Conspiracism and Jihad in Indonesia'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this