mandag 14. september 2020

Why China is becoming a target of jihadist hatred, like the US

In the last week of August, Indonesian authorities foiled a terrorist plot by Jemaah Islamiah, an al-Qaeda ally, to attack properties where ethnic Chinese Indonesians lived. The reason for the planned attack was supposedly the spread of communism by the ethnic Chinese communities, a narrative that turned out to be fake.

Anti-communist sentiment in Indonesia has a long history, but the failed attack cast a spotlight on
anti-China sentiment. This shares ingredients with jihadist sentiment against the United States, seen as the “far enemy” since the 1990s after it installed military bases in Saudi Arabia. The
recent attempted attack in Indonesia represents a larger trend in which China may also become a “far enemy” for jihadist groups.

The concept of “far” and “near” enemies was posited by Egyptian ideologue Mohammed al Faraj, who argued that jihadist groups should focus on repressive regimes in their own countries, mostly in the Middle East, instead of attacking the US. He classified America as the “far enemy” for interfering in Middle East domestic policies and across the broader Muslim world, exploiting resources and creating conflict and strife, such as in Iraq and Afghanistan.