This article examines the radicalization of young Southeast Asians into the violent extremism that characterizes the notorious Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). After situating ISIS within its wider and older Al Qaeda Islamist ideological milieu, the article sketches out the historical landscape of violent Islamist extremism in Southeast Asia. There it focuses on the Al Qaeda-affiliated, Indonesian-based but transnational Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) network, revealing how the emergence of ISIS has impacted JI’s evolutionary trajectory. The article surveys major explanations of how radicalization into violent extremism (RIVE) occurs, setting the stage for the ensuing discussion of two features of RIVE in Southeast Asia: violent Islamism and extremism. It shows that for sound policy reasons “radicals” and “extremists” should be viewed as analytically distinct and argues that extremism itself, not just violent extremism, is a problem that should be addressed in Southeast Asia and beyond. It asserts that there is no such thing as “nonviolent” extremism and suggests that “not-yet violent” extremism is a more accurate term. The article concludes by discussing operational and strategic policy options.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.