A Critical Review of Radical Pathways: Understanding Muslim Radicalization in Indonesia

2909 Words Feb 1st, 2014 12 Pages
Vivek Thakkar
Professor Nancy Florida
ASIAN 464 – Islam in SE Asia
4 April 2013

A Critical Review of Radical Pathways: Understanding Muslim Radicalization in Indonesia

Abstract
As the Associate Professor and Head of the Centre of Excellence for National Security at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore, Kumar Ramakrishna has been a frequent speaker on counterterrorism for local and international audiences as well as a regular media commentator on the issue. In Radical Pathways, Ramakrishna applies his research in exploration of why certain Indonesian Muslims turn to violent jihad. Specifically, he explores the Bali night club bombings of 2002 executed by Jamaah Islamiyah (JI), a segment of the Darul
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Ramakrishna may not have wanted to focus on any particular primary source that would deter from his purpose.
Ramakrishna goes on to state that secondary sources also come with their issues in terrorism studies; they are sometimes dismissed as “little more than idle speculation” (Ramakrishna 11-15). He maintains the best course of action in his situation is to utilize highly reliable International Crisis Group reports and personal interviews with Muslim scholars and Indonesian analysts as well somewhat less reliable police reports and other various personal accounts. These sources are holistically applied to create a micro-level analysis of terrorist phenomena, which are temporally limited as well as geographically and culturally localized manifestations (Ramakrishna 7-11). Macro-level analyses, he explains, have been conducted by previous scholars and do well in distinguishing various terrorist groups but do not provide terrorist motivations- the work of a terrorism specialist (Ramakrishna 16-17). Considering the author’s reference point as a terrorism specialist, it is vital to note two principle takeaways in the early sections of the book: 1) Ramakrishna maintains that the work of terrorism specialists is both idiosyncratic and necessary which may or may not be completely accurate and 2) He highlight biases that a scholarly audience may have about his work and tries his best to subdue

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