Jihadis in Indonesia Call for ‘Burning and Robbing’ Chinese Businesses

Jihadists in Indonesia are calling for violent attacks on Chinese-run businesses amid surging anti-Chinese sentiment in the Muslim-majority nation.

In the midst of an economic recession caused by the Chinese coronavirus pandemic, foreign workers in Indonesia compete for dwindling local jobs with Indonesians. This has seeded resentment toward the Chinese, who make up the majority of Indonesia’s foreign workforce, the South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported on Thursday.

Sofyan Tsauri, a former al-Qaeda terrorist who served five years in prison for helping to arm terror groups and now supports Indonesia’s counterterrorism efforts, said on Monday, “Some jihadis have called for the burning and robbing of Chinese shops.”

He made the comment following his participation in a webinar on Monday by the Indonesian think tank Center for Radicalism and Deradicalization Studies, the SCMP reported.

According to Sofyan, jihadis have called for attacks on Chinese businesses on social media platforms, including Facebook, for the past six months. The calls to action have been made by members of Indonesia’s Islamic State affiliate, Jemaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD), members of al-Qaeda, and other jihadist groups operating in Indonesia.

Sofyan said that jihadis were already preparing to launch a terror attack in Indonesia, implying that it was a question of when, not if, they strike.

“[An attack] has to be anticipated and not be dismissed. There needs to be caution,” Sofyan warned, adding that regions of Indonesia where jihadis have been known to operate – such as the islands of “Sulawesi, Sumatra, and West Java”– should exercise vigilance.

He explained that the ongoing Chinese coronavirus pandemic has caused serious vulnerabilities to crop up within Indonesia’s government and society, creating optimal conditions for the terrorists to strike. As examples, Sofyan cited the general distraction of the national government in dealing with the public health crisis and the swelling of anti-Chinese sentiment among Indonesians, itself a result of the pandemic-induced economic recession.

According to the SCMP, in April, Indonesia’s Manpower and Transmigration Ministry said that 2.8 million people had lost their jobs as a direct result of the economic recession caused by the coronavirus pandemic, adding that an additional 70 million “informal workers” were “at risk” of unemployment.

As of May, a total of 98,900 foreign workers were active in Indonesia’s workforce, less than 0.1 percent of Indonesia’s total workforce of 124 million, the SCMP reported. Of foreign workers, the Chinese accounted for the largest group – 35,781 workers– followed by the Japanese at 12,823, and South Koreans at 9,097. China invests heavily in Indonesia and is the nation’s second-largest foreign direct investor. In 2019, Chinese companies invested $4.7 billion in Indonesia.

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Jihadis in Indonesia Call for ‘Burning and Robbing’ Chinese Businesses Jihadis in Indonesia Call for ‘Burning and Robbing’ Chinese Businesses Reviewed by PostDiscus on June 07, 2020 Rating: 5

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