Jihadi soldiers in a desert by burning piles of wood

ISIS in Southeast Asia: The Apocalypse, Just War and Pragmatic Jihad

Monday 7th December 2015; 2.00 - 4.00pm; Room B.13, 32 Lincoln’s Inn Field (32L)
Speaker: Dr Greg Fealy; Chair: Dr Kirsten Schulze

About 500 Southeast Asians have gone to Syria and Iraq over the past two years, most of them as fighters for ISIS. This is almost as many as the total number who trained and fought as mujahideen in Afghanistan in the ten years from 1985. What explains the intense attraction of ISIS for Southeast Asian jihadists?

This seminar will examine the multiple motivations that have led fighters from Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore to join ISIS. It will look at the structures of mobilisation and recruitment for the Islamic State as well as the divisions it has caused within jihadist communities. I will argue that ISIS has posed only a moderate threat to Southeast Asia to date due to the caliphate's emphasis on Syria-Iraq operations and preference of most fighters to remain within the Islamic State.

Download and listen to the podcast here



Greg Fealy is Associate Professor of Southeast Asian Politics and Head of the Department of Political and Social Change at The Australian National University.




Kirsten Schulze is Deputy Director of the Saw Swee Hock Southeast Asia Centre and Associate Professor in International History at LSE.