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Cave of Wonders

Sorcerer Mickey sparklingSorcerer Mickey sparkling

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Cave of Wonders

Personality

Wise, solemn

Alignment

Neutral

Goal

Allow only the Diamond in the Rough to enter and obtain the lamp

Home

Desert on the outskirts of Agrabah

Dislikes

Cowardice, disobedience, thieves, infidels

Fate

Sinks back into the sand

Quote

“Who disturbs my slumber?”
“Seek thee out! The diamond in the rough.”
“lnfidels! You have touched the forbidden treasure! Now you will never again see the light of day!”

The Cave of Wonders

Video games

Location

Desert on the outskirts of Agrabah

Ruler

The Tiger-God

Final state

Collapsed

Know this: only one may enter here, one whose worth lies far within. A diamond in the rough.” ―The Cave of Wonders’ warning about entering

The Cave of Wonders is a location in Aladdin. It is a hidden cavern filled with vast riches and magical artifacts, most notably, the genie’s magic lamp. The cave can only be entered by an individual whose “worth lies far within”—the diamond in the rough. Those who make attempts to enter, otherwise, will be killed almost instantly. To keep these laws intact, and unworthy thieves away from the powerful riches that lie within, the cave is protected by a sand guardian with the shape of a tiger’s head.

Appearances

Aladdin

In the original film, the cave is visited at the very beginning by Jafar, Iago, and a thief named Gazeem. The location of the cave was revealed using a mystical golden Scarab Beetle, which also helped form the cave. Jafar orders Gazeem to go inside the Cave to retrieve the magical lamp. The Cave’s tiger head warns the visitors that only one may enter, referred to as the Diamond in the Rough. Jafar and Gazeem don’t quite understand what he means so Jafar decides to order Gazeem to go in again. Gazeem makes one step inside. When everything seems to be safe, the Cave suddenly roars and violently shuts its mouth killing Gazeem and vanishing back into the sand, leaving the scarab halves to roll down the hill as it repeats that only the “Diamond in the Rough” may enter. Jafar then realizes he must find the Diamond in the Rough.

Back at the palace, Jafar takes the Sultan‘s mystic blue diamond ring in order to power his device. The device shows just who the Diamond in the Rough is. It is revealed to be the cunning street rat, Aladdin. Jafar orders the guards to capture Aladdin and take him to the Palace’s prison. There Jafar, disguised as an ugly elderly beggar, takes Aladdin and Abu to the Cave. Aladdin identifies himself to the Cave, which allows him to enter, but warns him not to touch anything except for the lamp.

Aladdin and Abu successfully enter the cave, where they are tempted by the vast Forbidden Treasure, though Aladdin remembers the warning not to touch them. They come across a Magic Carpet, who offers to help and takes them to the back chamber where the lamp is located. As Aladdin climbs up stairs on a tall rock formation surrounded by water to retrieve the lamp, Abu spots a large ruby held by a monkey idol, and is overcome with temptation; despite the Carpet’s best efforts to stop him and Aladdin telling him to stop the moment he himself retrieves the lamp, Abu seizes the ruby, and the Cave’s voice angrily says that Aladdin and Abu will die for violating its warning. Abu sheepishly puts the Ruby back, but then the ruby and monkey idol melt into lava, which turns the cave’s water into lava, then the entire cave fills itself with lava. Aladdin and Abu nearly escape with the help of the Carpet, but are thrown down by Jafar, who thought he had stolen the lamp. The cave, after pained bellows, then dissolves with Aladdin, Abu, and Carpet still inside.

Inside the cave, it is revealed that Abu stole the lamp back from Jafar. Genie is released and frees them from their prison (also tricking Genie into granting a free wish in the process).

At the end of the film, Jafar and Iago are banished to the Cave of Wonders to endure 10,000 years of imprisonment.

House of Mouse

In the series House of Mouse, the Cave seems to be transportation for Jafar and Iago.

In the episode “Donald’s Lamp Trade“, the cave’s voice was heard calling Donald an infidel when he tried to make off with a crate of forbidden treasure. The cave itself was also featured in the sponsor at the end of the episode.

Live-action appearances

Once Upon a Time

The Cave of Wonders appears in the Season 6 episode “Street Rats“.

Aladdin (2019)

Cave of Wonders from RemakeCave of Wonders from Remake

The Cave of Wonders in the 2019 remake.

The Cave of Wonders is first seen during the musical number “Arabian Nights” where Jafar sends a person to find him a magical lamp, but is unsuccessful, getting eaten by the cave just like in the animated film. Unlike in the animated film, the entrance’s iteration is depicted with a lion’s head instead of a tiger. It is located on a rocky hill instead of being risen from the sand formed by the two pieces of the Golden Scarab Beetle for it’s eyes.

When Aladdin is tasked to find the lamp as ordered by Jafar to make him rich (this time not disguised as an elderly beggar) the Cave of Wonders then accepts him as he is described as the “Diamond in the Rough”. Before Aladdin enters, it is Jafar instead of the cave who warns him not to touch anything inside except the lamp. Just like in the animated film, Aladdin successfully finds the lamp, but Abu then touches a ruby (albeit by accident instead of intentionally out of greed like in the animated film) despite Aladdin telling him not to, causing the cave to collapse; however, the ruby he touched was not from the monkey idol holding it, but one of the rubies along the way. When Aladdin, Abu, and Carpet are ready to escape, Aladdin hands Jafar the lamp, but successfully almost causes Aladdin to fall to his demise, still with Abu defending him from Jafar. After the cave has collapsed with Aladdin, Abu, and Carpet trapped inside, the entrance, however, does not melt unlike in the animated film, but with the light dimmed out. Like in the animated film, Aladdin rubs the lamp to get his wish from the Genie in which he grants him to help the three escape.

Like in the animated version at the end of the film, when Jafar and Iago are both trapped in the lamp and Agrabah is restored to normal, the Genie sends Jafar’s lamp far into the Cave of Wonders.

Video Games

Aladdin

In all versions of the Aladdin video game, the Cave of Wonders is featured as a level.

The Cave of Wonders also appears in Nasira’s Revenge as a location, requiring the use of the Scarab to enter it.

Kingdom Hearts series

The Cave makes an appearance as a location within the Agrabah world and is fought as a boss in Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts coded. In the first game, Sora, Aladdin, Donald, and Goofy fight it after it was taken over by the Heartless and tried to destroy them. Once they destroy the dark power’s source, which is located in his eyes (reached by climbing up its neck or by leaping onto its face when it’s buried in the dirt), the guardian returns to being an entrance to the Cave of Wonders and continues to be so throughout the series. The tiger reacts neither to their entrance into the cave nor touching the treasure within the cave.

In Kingdom Hearts II, Sora, Donald, and Goofy enter the cave for treasure to buy Jafar’s lamp from the peddler. Once again, the tiger does not object to their quest or entrance.

Disney Princess: Enchanted Journey

Jasmine and the game’s protagonist visited the cave in search of Abu and treasure.

Disneyland

In World of Color, Cave of Wonders appears as part of the background in the Aladdin sequence’s rendition of “A Whole New World“.

Walt Disney World

In Fantasmic!, the cave is summoned by Jafar in an attempt to kill Mickey Mouse during Mickey’s imprisonment. Inside the cave, Jafar transforms into a snake and attempts to eat Mickey. Mickey then finds the lamp who he believes is Genie’s, but the lamps end up transforming Jafar into a genie.

At DisneyQuest, Cave of Wonders served as a gateway into the Explore Zone, which was home to the Aladdin Virtual Magic Carpet attraction.

Disneyland Paris

The Cave of Wonders is a location in both versions of Storybook Land Canal Boats, though the tiger head only appears in the Disneyland Paris version as the Disneyland incarnation was merely a retrofit of a Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs based cavern.

Gallery

Trivia

  • Strangely, in most of its appearances, the Cave retains its dark blue color regardless of the time of day.
  • Frank Welker based the voice of the Cave of Wonders on Sean Connery, though he has used the voice before.
  • Though the Cave itself is not seen, it is mentioned in the Aladdin episode “Shadow of a Doubt“, when the gang are going to a cave of mirrors to find something to stop Mirage. Iago recalls the event of Abu’s mistake when he says; “Don’t let him touch anything! Remember the Cave of Wonders incident,” which makes Abu snarl with anger.
  • In The Return of Jafar, a statue of the Tiger God of the Cave of Wonders is seen in Abis Mal‘s lair. Later, Jafar and Iago were seen in the desert where the Cave of Wonders is located after somehow escaping from it.
ved Kingdom Hearts utilized logoKingdom Hearts utilized logo
Characters
Main Characters: SoraRikuKairiKing MickeyDonald DuckGoofyRoxasAxel/LeaNaminéXionAquaTerraVentus

Villains: XehanortAnsemXemnasMaleficentPeteVanitasXigbar/BraigXaldinVexenLexaeusZexionSaïx/IsaDemyxLuxordMarluxiaLarxeneTerra-XehanortYoung XehanortXehanort’s Guardian
Other Characters: Jiminy CricketAnsem the Wise/DiZYen SidMaster EraqusDilanEvenAeleusIenzoLingering WillHaynerPenceOletteKairi’s GrandmaRiku ReplicaJiminy’s JournalForetellersMaster of MastersLuxuEphemerSkuldChirithy
Original Monsters: HeartlessNobodiesUnversedDream Eater
Disney Characters and Villains: Queen MinnieDaisy DuckPlutoChip and DaleScrooge McDuckHuey, Dewey, and LouieHorace HorsecollarClarabelle CowClara CluckMerlinAliceWhite RabbitDoorknobCheshire CatQueen of HeartsCard SoldiersMad HatterMarch HareTarzanJane PorterClaytonTerkKerchakKalaSaborHerculesPhiloctetesPegasusMegaraHadesPain and PanicCerberusTitansHydraZeusApolloAthenaHermesAladdinAbuJasmineGenieCarpetJafarIagoPeddlerSultanRazoulRoyal Guards • Cave of Wonders • ArielFlounderSebastianUrsulaKing TritonPrince EricFlotsam and JetsamAttinaAndrinaGlutPinocchioGeppettoBlue FairyMonstroCleoJack SkellingtonZeroSallyOogie BoogieLock, Shock, and BarrelDr. FinkelsteinMayor of Halloween TownSanta ClausSkeletal ReindeerPeter PanTinker BellCaptain HookMr. SmeeWendyLost BoysCrocodileMagic BroomsChernabogChernabog’s MinionsWinnie the PoohTiggerPigletEeyoreRabbitOwlKangaRooGopherLumpyBeesPongoPerditaDalmatian PuppiesDumboBambiMulanMushuLi ShangShan YuHayabusaYao, Ling, and Chien PoThe EmperorBelleBeastLumiereCogsworthMrs PottsChipWardrobeMauriceGastonJack SparrowElizabeth SwannWill TurnerCaptain BarbossaMr. GibbsTia DalmaDavy JonesKrakenCutler BeckettJacobyCursed CrewSimbaTimonPumbaaNalaRafikiScarShenzi, Banzai, and EdMufasaKiaraPridelandersHyenasTronMaster Control ProgramCommander SarkChicken LittleFlora, Fauna, and MerryweatherAuroraPrince PhillipMaleficent’s RavenMaleficent’s GoonsSamsonSnow WhiteDocGrumpyHappySleepyBashfulSneezyDopeyThe PrinceEvil QueenMagic MirrorCinderellaPrince CharmingFairy GodmotherJaqLady TremaineAnastasiaDrizellaLuciferGrand DukeStitchGrand CouncilwomanCaptain GantuJumbaExperiment 221QuasimodoEsmeraldaPhoebusJudge Claude FrolloVictor, Hugo, and LaverneKevin FlynnSam FlynnQuorraCLURinzlerBlack GuardsBeagle BoysJuliusLittle ChefWoodyBuzz LightyearRexHammSargeGreen Army MenLittle Green MenRapunzelFlynn RiderPascalMaximusMother GothelSulleyMike WazowskiBooRandall BoggsThe CDATrailer Son and MomElsaAnnaKristoffOlafSvenMarshmallowHansBaymaxHiro HamadaGo Go TomagoHoney LemonFredWasabiWreck-It RalphVanellope von SchweetzFix-It Felix Jr.Sergeant CalhounKing CandySour BillCy-BugsHero’s Duty Troops
Square Enix Characters: LeonCloudMoogleOthers



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The C.E.O. Taking On the Gun Lobby

Ed Stack didn’t set out to be an activist.

The chief executive of Dick’s Sporting Goods, Mr. Stack spent his career selling fishing rods, camping gear and athletic equipment at big-box stores around the country.

Dick’s was founded by Mr. Stack’s father in upstate New York. As a young man, Mr. Stack worked for the family business. But he didn’t enjoy the experience. His father was a divisive boss who couldn’t manage a supply chain, and was especially hard on his son.

Hoping to chart his own course, Mr. Stack went to work at a law firm. But when his father fell ill, Mr. Stack came back to help run the company. He soon grew to love the retail business and eventually bought the company from his father in 1984.

Mr. Stack set about expanding across the country, at times moving too aggressively. Overextended, the company flirted with bankruptcy. But Mr. Stack stabilized the business, and in 2002, took Dick’s public. Since then, he has managed to keep the company competitive in the age of Walmart, Amazon and e-commerce.

With all of that accomplished and retirement in sight, Mr. Stack wasn’t looking for attention. Then in February 2018, a gunman opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., killing 17 people. As Mr. Stack watched the news, he decided to drastically curtail Dick’s gun sales.

Days after the shooting, Dick’s said that it would immediately stop selling all assault-style rifles, no longer sell high-capacity magazines and require any gun buyer to be at least 21, regardless of local laws.

Dick’s was not alone. Walmart also tightened its gun sales policies after the shooting in Parkland, and companies including Delta Air Lines and MetLife moved to distance themselves from the National Rifle Association.

But for gun rights activists, Mr. Stack’s deeply personal engagement with the issue struck a nerve. The N.R.A. came after Dick’s, and calls for a boycott sprung up on social media.

Mr. Stack was unbowed. He announced that Dick’s would destroy the assault-style rifles and accessories on its shelves instead of returning them to manufacturers.

More than a year and a half after the Parkland shooting, Mr. Stack continues his campaign for stricter gun control, calling on lawmakers to introduce legislation and detailing his journey from businessman to activist in a new book, “It’s How We Play the Game.” He is reportedly exploring a run for president.

This interview, which was condensed and edited for clarity and occurred before any presidential musings, was conducted in New York.

Had you confronted the guns issue before Parkland?

Our journey with guns has been a long one. Around 1999, some kids broke into our store in Rochester, N.Y., and stole a bunch of handguns. A few days later, the cops found these kids, and a couple of them were dead.

I said, “I don’t want to be in this business.” So we stopped selling handguns. We were small at the time, with just six stores, and nobody noticed. We took a little bit of guff from it, but nobody knew who Dick’s Sporting Goods was really at the time.

Who did you take guff from? The National Rifle Association?

No, it was customers asking, “Why aren’t you selling handguns anymore?” Then we opened in Texas and put some handguns back because it just felt that was what the customer wanted. With the assault weapons ban from 1994, we hadn’t been selling assault rifles. But then, probably a year before Sandy Hook, merchants came and said, “To be competitive in the gun business, you got to have assault rifles. This is what’s selling.” So we put them back in.

Then Parkland happened, and you decided to significantly curtail your gun sales.

When Parkland happened — watching those kids, listening to those parents — it had a profound effect on me. It was at that point I said, “I just don’t want to sell these guns, period.”

I’m a pretty stoic guy. But I sat there hearing about the kids who were killed, and I hadn’t cried that much since my mother passed away. We need to do something. This has got to stop.

I came to our management team on that Monday, and started to read a statement I had written. I got emotional, and I couldn’t get through it. Our chief of staff had to actually take the piece of paper from my hand and finish reading it.

You’ve done more than just take guns out of the stores though.

We called on Congress to come together with the intent to actually solve this problem. I’ve spent a fair amount of time in Washington, and it was pretty clear that nothing was going to get done, and nothing has gotten done.

I don’t know how, at least, we can’t get universal background checks done. For the life of me, I cannot understand how people can see that having universal background checks or red-flag laws really violates anybody’s Second Amendment rights.

You also went down to Florida.

The families from Parkland asked me to come down and talk to them. So I went down and sat with many of the families who lost somebody in Parkland. It was probably the hardest day of my life, to listen to those parents talk about their kids and what happened to them.

One woman said it had been a month since her son was killed. She said, “I go into his room every night, I sit on his bed and I talk to him.” As a parent, you can’t imagine putting yourself in that position. This whole thing still gets to me.

But what I found surprising of those families, not one of them said we need to ban all guns, that guns have to go away. What they said was we need to find common-sense changes to our gun laws so what happened to our family doesn’t happen anyplace else. If those families feel that way, I have no idea how the guys in Washington can’t come together and find a solution to this problem.

How do you respond to your critics?

People have said, “You know Stack, if we do what you want and ban assault-style rifles, ban high-capacity magazines and don’t sell a gun to anyone under 21 years old, it won’t eliminate mass shootings.” You know what, they’re probably right. But there will be less loss of life if an assault-style rifle isn’t used. And if we do all those things and we save one life, in my mind it’s all worth it.

Image“I’ve spent a fair amount of time in Washington, and it was pretty clear that nothing was going to get done, and nothing has gotten done,” Mr. Stack said.“I’ve spent a fair amount of time in Washington, and it was pretty clear that nothing was going to get done, and nothing has gotten done,” Mr. Stack said.Credit…Guerin Blask for The New York Times

What do you say to other business leaders who don’t want to get political?

If you have ideas about how to solve certain problems, I think it’s your responsibility as business leaders to speak up. This country is craving for leadership today, and the leadership is not coming out of Washington. So the leadership has to come from someplace else. Right now, the private sector is the place that it’s going to have to come from.

We have an expertise from a gun standpoint. We see the holes in the system. We found out that a couple months before the shooter in Parkland did what he did, we sold that kid a shotgun. The background system should have flagged this kid. He should not have been able to buy a gun.

Tell me about your dad, who started the company.

He was a complicated guy. He had a great heart, but he always had a bit of an inferiority complex. He always had something to prove. I think his fear of failure is what really drove him. He was a really tough, old-school guy. This was a time that you just never told your kids you love them. His view was, “We’ll make a man out of you.”

I didn’t want to work for my dad. I wanted to go out and do my own thing. But when I was 13, I went to work. We’re this really small, family, little corner sporting goods store. The family went and worked and tried to help out.

What did your dad do wrong as a businessman?

My dad never had a plan. He ran the business by the seat of his pants. His idea around buying was, “You got a hunch, you buy a bunch.” We were always close to going out of business. He always owed the bank money. He always owed the vendors money. He always paid them, but he was always in debt. Our garage would be filled with excess merchandise: Coleman coolers, propane fuel, white gas.

His management style was as haphazard as his buying habits. He played people one off the other. You can’t do that. You have to have specific roles and functions. And if you pick somebody who’s going to be your right-hand guy, then that’s the guy.

How did you take control of Dick’s?

I fell in love with the business, but my father still owned the company. He was a tough taskmaster, and at times unfair. It was just his way of kind of making a man out of you. I didn’t particularly like working for my father.

We got into a spirited conversation one day, and he stuck his finger in my face and said, “If you think you’re such a smart goddamn son of a bitch, go down to the bank, get your own line of credit and buy me out.” So that’s what I did. I went down to the bank, got it put together, came back and said, “We’re ready to go.”

What don’t people understand about growing a business?

It’s not a straight line. You’re going to have ups and downs. You’re going to have those quiet introspective moments where you go, “What am I doing?” You’re going to have those days of self-doubt. And you’ve got to just power through them. But we almost went out of business.

How did you go from being a local retailer to a big-box store?

We built a bigger store. The first store my father built was 5,000 square feet. The second store was 2,800 square feet. Then we went to Syracuse and did a 20,000-square-foot store. That was a huge, huge difference. We were just shocked at how much business we did. The guys from Nike said, “Hey Dick, you’ve got to be really proud of these kids. They’re doing a lot of business.”

My father, who could never really quite give you a compliment, looked at them and said, “You’re right, they did a lot of business. They did 25 percent more business than they thought they would the first month. So they’re not really as smart as they think they are.” That was him to a tee.

So we built this store, did really well, and then we just started opening these 20,000- and 25,000-square-foot stores.

How did you almost go out of business?

The business outstripped our management’s ability, including my own, to run the business. We finally talked to G.E. Capital in New York, which was the lender of last resort before you called Tony Soprano. And I didn’t want to call Tony Soprano.

I’d never been in a building like G.E. Capital’s: big conference room, 10 people firing questions at us, saying, “Why did you do this? How did this happen?” This is like our last resort. If this doesn’t work, there’s talk about filing for bankruptcy or selling the company.

They fired questions at us left and right, and we answered them, and I finally said, “Let me tell you something. This is what happened, this is why it happened, this is what we’ve done about it and this is why it’s never going to happen again.”

There was a guy sitting over in the corner, and I didn’t pay any attention to him. He never asked a question, was never involved in the meeting. After the meeting, he came over and sat down, looked at me and said, “What’s it going to take for you to shake my hand right now that we’ll agent your loan?”

The lesson I learned is the guy in the room who’s not saying anything, he’s the decision maker. Beware of the guy in the room who sits in the corner and doesn’t say anything. I told him how much money we needed and when we needed it by. He looked at me and shook my hand and said, “We’ll make this happen.” That saved the company.

What did you learn from that experience?

You look into the halls of hell, and near-death experience changes you. We slowed the growth down. We said, “We’re not going to open any stores for the next couple of years.” We got our inventory under control, we got our expenses under control and we learned from our mistakes.

The experience is on the list of mistakes I made. I wouldn’t say it’s a regret, because we learned a lot from it. One of the reasons we’re in the position we’re in right now is because of it. One of the things I learned from that is I don’t want to have debt; I don’t want to owe anybody any money.

What’s the difference between a mistake and a regret?

A regret is something that you wish you could take back. You go, “If I had to do it all over again, I wouldn’t do it because it didn’t turn out very well.” A mistake is something that you did that you learned from, that at the end of the day it helped make you who you are today.

I’ve made a lot of mistakes. I don’t have a lot of regrets.

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The 20 Greatest (and Most Realistic) Movie Fights of All Time


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If you asked me for my favorite movie moment so far this year, I wouldn’t have to think very hard about it. In fact, I wouldn’t have to think about it at all. The answer’s easy: when Keanu Reeves singlehandedly dispatched more than 100 bad guys in John Wick: Chapter 2, the follow-up to his 2014 gun-fu cult classic.

Yes, the scene was outrageous. But if you watched Reeves closely, you would’ve seen that there was plenty of truth to his movements and technique. As he told Men’s Fitness, in February, he studied judo and is obsessive about his fight scenes. “I’ve used this term ‘superperfect,'” he said. “As in, ‘Can we get it superperfect?‘” The guy even has a pre-fight-scene tradition: he devours a steak the night before.

Now, I appreciate this more than anyone. I grew up in the Bronx, which meant fistfights several times a week. Later on, I became a cop, working in the South Bronx, and then went on to be a bouncer at exclusive nightclubs and a bodyguard for c-suite execs. Suffice it to say: I’ve seen my fair share of fights.

I’ve also seen my fair share of movies. You could say I’m an amateur expert on all things Bronson and Stallone, Wayne and Neeson. (Seriously: If Harvard had a class called Fight Scenes 101, I could teach it in my sleep.) So when my friends at Best Life asked me to rate my favorite, most brutal, and most realistic fight scenes in history, I couldn’t help myself. Here they are. And if you’re looking to get fighting fit yourself, check out this former Olympic Judo medalist’s guide to transforming your own physique.

Who would’ve thought I—a guy who’s seen all manner of street fights—would pick a fight with a guy from WWE? But the raw energy and pure heavy hitting here makes it an obvious choice. Watching, you can feel every single punch land.

Saving Private Ryan is mandatory viewing by any and every measure. But even if you don’t care about history or great filmmaking, watch this for the fight scene. You can almost feel the knife piercing Mellish’s heart—a heavy metaphor on the toil and pain that comes with war.

This is Charles Bronson, the quintessential tough guy, at his absolute best. The physicality of the fight shows off a level of emotion that, since, has yet to be replicated. And to top it off, he’s in his 50s here, and could still kick your ass.

I remember crying in the theater watching this fight. In fact, this is one of the few films where John Wayne actually dies in—by the hand of Bruce Dern’s character. To this day, Dern claims people approach and reprimand him for killing The Duke.

Bad Day at Black Rock is a classic, and it makes the cut for two reasons. For one thing, this is one of the first movies that showed off karate as a fight style. For another, the Spencer Tracy wins the fight one-armed. One-armed!

As Butch Cassidy taught us earlier, there are no rules in a knife fight. This rule also applies to big knives—also known as swords. Liam Neeson, with his particular set of skills, only reinforces that rule in this film.

At a certain point, you no longer care what happens to your adversaries. In this film, Denzel is exactly that—the man with everything to fight for, and nothing left to lose.

Sly makes this list twice and here’s why. In Rocky Balboa, the man is 60 years old, and still kicks more ass than kids half his age. Stallone shows us all the way on how to keep moving forward by consistently raising your game to the next level.

This is a neat little film from 1970. Heralded as one of the most violent and realistic fights ever filmed, it’s rumored that both actors refused to pull their punches, to the point where bones were broken. It shows.

Fighting completely in the buff, Viggo takes down two dudes way larger than he his in a fight to the death. You can see the fighters actually grow tired throughout the brawl—which is precisely what happens in situation like this.

Watching Charlez Theron in anything is always a treat. But well before she was kicking ass in Mad Max, she spent her film debut going toe-to-toe with Teri Hatcher.

You can’t have a list of any fights without including Rambo. As you see real fear morph into the fight-or-flight drive, Rambo strategically and systematically dismantles a bunch of poorly trained officers, including a young David Caruso—well before his time on CSI: Miami.

Since I was a former cop in the South Bronx, I can neither confirm nor deny ever seeing anything like this, where the officer removes his belt and gear to fight like a man, bare knuckle, one-on-one.

This fight scene between two martial arts legends, Bruce Lee and Bob Wall, goes down as one of the top fight scenes of all time; Bruce Lee set the bar for every martial arts movie to come. The reality is, this scene was shot in one continuous take (because they were not only the stars, they were the stuntmen and the world karate champions). This scene involves Bob Wall breaking a beer bottle, then coming at Bruce Lee with it. This was not so much a “prop bottle” but an actual beer bottle. Before going into the scene, Bruce told Bob to “go for it.” And that he did. So much so, in fact, that the bottle cut Bruce deeply, and he instinctively reacted (as martial artists innately do…). Bruce reacted with such a fierce kick to Bob’s chest, that when he flew back into the crowd (of extras), one of the extras broke his arm from the sheer force of Bob Wall being thrust onto him. It doesn’t get more authentic than this.

Butch Cassidy teaches us an essential and all-too real-lesson: There are no rules in a knife fight. Sometimes, as in cases like this, the loser loses the fight before he even knows it.

A great fight scene shows off in two ways: what you see on the screen, and what went into making it. In this scene, it’s clear how long and hard Tom Hardy trained—and that’s a feat in itself.

About 50 years before the UFC, there was James Cagney making full use of Judo throws, dirty boxing, and rear naked chokes. While everything isn’t black and white in a fight (like in this artifact of a scene), Cagney makes it all work right.

This movie brings back such memories for me—and not just because it was Matt Dillon’s film debut, but because I was about the same age as the kid needing the bodyguard. (I was also bullied similarly. Unfortunately, I didn’t have Adam Baldwin as my backup.) What makes this two-for-one fight scene so good is the sheer awkwardness; no one here really knows how to fight, giving it a visceral, realistic feel.

Alas, we are here. John Wick. This is the film that brought gun-fu (a beautiful mix of gunplay and martial arts) into public consciousness. It may be a little unrealistic, especially considering the sheer amount of guys he knocks off. But who is going to argue with John Wick?

Not me, that’s for sure.

Detective Riggs versus Mr. Joshua—this is one of my all time favorites. The raw savagery and emotion behind the fight; the fact that the fighters grow fatigued, as they would in a real fight; the collateral elements—the mud and holiday ornaments—that get brought in; and the creative combination of kicks and punches all elevate this fight above and beyond any in cinematic history.

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The Surabaya Bombings and the Evolution of the Jihadi Threat in Indonesia – Combating Terrorism Center at West Point

Abstract: On May 13, 2018, three churches in Surabaya, Indonesia, were targeted by suicide bombers comprising one single family of six. These are the first suicide bombings involving women and young children in Indonesia, thus marking a new modus operandi. They also show an increased capability among Indonesian Islamic State supporters when compared to previous attacks. But this increase is not necessarily indicative of a greater capacity across Indonesia’s pro-Islamic State network and the involvement of whole families reflects a broadening participation in Indonesian jihadism rather than a complete departure. The recent upsurge in violence is locally rooted, even if it is framed within the broader Islamic State ideology. The attacks also bring to the fore the role of family networks and the increased embrace of women and children in combat roles.

On Sunday, May 13, 2018, three churches in Surabaya (East Java), Indonesia, were targeted by almost simultaneous suicide bombings, killing 13 and wounding 41. According to Indonesian authorities, TATP (triacetone triperoxide) was used in all three bombings, and they were carried out by one family comprising Dita Oepriarto; his wife, Puji Kuswati; teenage sons, Yusuf Fadhil (18) and Firman Halim (15); and young daughters, Fadhila Sari (12) and Famela Rizqita (9). Later that day, a premature bomb explosion in a house in Sidarjo (near Surabaya), involving another family of six, injured the bomb maker Anton Febrianto and the two younger children, Farisa Putri (11) and Garida Huda Akbar (10), while killing his wife, Puspitasari, and the eldest son, Hilta Aulia Rahman (17). Febrianto was subsequently shot dead by the police.1 The following day, on Monday, May 14, a family of five rode two motorbikes to the entrance of Surabaya police headquarters where they blew themselves up. Four of the attackers were killed, and three police officers as well as three civilians were injured. The eight-year-old daughter of the suicide bombers, who had no explosives strapped to her, was flung off the motorbike and survived.2

This was the first successful series of Islamic State-inspired bombings in Indonesia since the January 2016 attack in Jakarta’s Thamrin business district, which had targeted a traffic police post and Starbucks café.3 It was also Indonesia’s first successful suicide bombing by a female and the first bombings carried out by whole families, including their young children. TATP, the explosives used in the three Surayba church attacks, is the same sensitive and tricky-to-make high explosive used in major attacks in Paris, Brussels, and Manchester between 2015 and 2017. These bombings indicate both an increase in the capability of Islamic State sympathizers in Indonesia as well as a new modus operandi. However, it would be wrong to assume that this increase in capability applies across Indonesia’s pro-Islamic State network and to see the involvement of whole families as a complete departure. It is equally incorrect to see this upsurge in Islamic State-inspired attacks as the result of returning Indonesian foreign fighters.

Returning Foreign Fighters?
The church bombings were quickly claimed by the Islamic State through its Amaq News Agency.4 Shortly thereafter, Indonesian police chief Tito Karnavian explained that one of the reasons for what he referred to as the activation of terrorist sleeper cells in Indonesia was the pressure on the Islamic State in the Middle East. The attacks by the Western coalition forces had cornered the Islamic State, he suggested, and compelled it to order all its cells everywhere to respond.5 The Indonesian police then asserted that the family responsible for the attacks had just returned from Syria.6 This allowed for the emergence of a false narrative that the renewed violence in Indonesia, as in parts of Europe, was the anticipated and feared consequence of returning foreign fighters. This narrative was further supported by inflated numbers of Indonesian returnees, which was put as high as 500 by some media sources.7

The returning foreign fighter narrative also seemed to explain why these families had been so much more competent in constructing the Islamic State signature TATP bombs than the numerous bomb makers in preceding years, whose bombs exploded only partially or not at all. The targeting of churches also seemed to mirror other Islamic State-inspired attacks on churches in Egypt and Pakistan in 2017.8 However, as more information about the family involved in the church bombings started to emerge, the Indonesian police retracted its claim that the family members were foreign fighter returnees from Syria.9 In fact, the family had never been to Syria. Neither had the family involved in the premature explosion in Sidoarjo nor the family responsible for the Surabaya police headquarters bombing.10

The Family Bombers
Little has been made public by investigators about the three families, although some information has become available on the church bombers who lived in a middle class neighborhood of Surabaya. Dita Oepriarto ran an herbal medicines business. The Facebook pictures of his wife Puji Kuswati showed a family not unlike other families with children at play, a family outing white water rafting, and get-togethers with female friends. The women have their heads covered in jilbabs (headscarves) in various colors and styles; their faces are unveiled.11 The Facebook posts stopped in 2014, possibly marking a point in the process of radicalization. Dita Oepriarto was described by neighbors who knew him as a “good person,” “friendly” and “refined.”12 A Christian neighbor said that there had been “nothing strange about the family” and that “they were like other devout Muslims.”13 A Muslim neighbor said that they prayed at an “unremarkable local mosque.”14 However, he also stated that he had heard from the older men in the community that Dita Oepriarto was not “mainstream” as he objected to “secular rituals,” including raising the Indonesian flag and “singing the Indonesian national anthem.”15 This resonates with comments made by classmates who stated that Dita Oepriarto never felt comfortable with the values advocated by Indonesia’s pluralistic state philosophy of pancasila,a which he believed should be opposed as it was not based on Islamic law.16

While it is still unclear how these three families met, it is known that they all attended pengajian (Islamic studies sessions) together every Sunday in Surabaya.17Pengajian have been the most common path of radicalization as well as recruitment in Indonesia for all jihadi organizations, including the pro-Islamic State network.18 These specific, pro-Islamic State pengajian that the three families attended were held by ustadzb Khalid Abu Bakr, who already in the 1990s had a reputation as a firebrand cleric skilled at mobilizing Muslims to come to the defense of Islam. Contrary to some media reports, he was never a member of the Indonesian jihadi group Jemaah Islamiyah.19 After the declaration of the Islamic State caliphate in 2014, ustadz Khalid became an Islamic State sympathizer and decided to go on hijrah to Syria in 2016. However, he was arrested in Turkey and deported back to Indonesia in January 2017.20 It is then that, according to local Islamists, he started holding pro-Islamic State Islamic studies sessions and “started to gather ISIS sympathizers around him.”21 Whether or not ustadz Khalid is a formal member of the pro-Islamic State group Jemaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD) or is an off-structure pro-Islamic State cleric remains unclear so far. However, Indonesian police believe that church bomber Dita Oepriarto was not only a formal member of JAD but in fact headed the Surabaya cell of JAD to which the other two families are also believed to have belonged.22

The Pro-Islamic State Network in Indonesia
Indonesia’s pro-Islamic State network is extensive as it was grafted onto pre-existing jihadi organizations, including Negara Islam Indonesia (NII), Mujahidin Indonesia Timur (MIT), Tauhid wal Jihad, and Jemaah Ansharut Tauhid (JAT), following the establishment of ISIS in the Middle East.23

In 2015, JAD was formed as an umbrella organization headed by Aman Abdurrahman, a radical preacher who had previously been involved in establishing a jihadi training camp in Aceh in 2010, for which he was sentenced to 15 years in prison on Nusakambangan Island. He was the leader of an amorphous group formed in 2004 that called itself Tawhid wal Jihad.c However, he is best known for his translation of the writings of the Jordanian hardline Salafi cleric Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi into Indonesian, and it is as an ideologue that Abdurrahman has been credited with “importing” and “indigenizing” the ideology of the Islamic State.24

JAD is territorially organized across Indonesia into wilaya (regions), branches, and cells. These include wilaya in Greater Jakarta (Jabodetabek), Banten, Central Java, East Java, West Java, Lampung, and Kalimantan as well as a cell in Toli Toli (Sulawesi) and a self-affiliated cell in Medan (Sumatra).25 It is a hierarchical organization in the sense that it is headed by an amir and has command structures at the local level. At the same time, it is also a loose organization that allows branches, cells, and individuals to operate independently from each other. While some directives for operations between 2016 and 2018 have come directly from imprisoned JAD leaders, often relayed through prison visitors, many attacks have been conceived ad hoc at the local level.26 What ties them together is a standardized ideological curriculum used in Islamic studies sessions,27 including online pengajian groups as well as the shared compendium of bomb-making instructions, which includes the tried and tested pressure cooker bomb instructions from AQAP’s Inspire magazine, the TATP instructions circulated by the Islamic State, and various instructions disseminated by Bahrun Naim (including some for a dirty bomb).28 With respect to the latter, local expertise has determined the degree of capability. Whether a bomb exploded and how much damage it caused was a reflection of the individual bomb maker’s skills, access to materials, and instructions chosen. Thus, while the Surabaya bombs showed a greater capacity than previous JAD bombs, this does not necessarily mean JAD as a whole has increased its military capacity.

JAD is by far the largest and most defining group in Indonesia’s pro-Islamic State network, which also includes the much smaller Katibul Iman—sometimes referred to as Jemaah Ansharut Khilafah (JAK), led by Abu Husna—as well as the Poso-based Mujahidin Indonesia Timor (MIT) until the death of its leader Santoso, alias Abu Wardah, in July 2016.29 As a whole, these groups have pursued the local aims of establishing sharia law and Islamic governance in Indonesia. Seeing the Indonesian government, Indonesia’s pluralistic nationalist ideology of pancasila, and the police as institutionalized idolatry as well as being the main obstacles to achieving an Islamic Indonesia, Islamic State supporters regard the police and the government as the main targets of their violence. Religious minorities such as Christians and Buddhists have also been attacked in the broader context of waging war on all forms of ‘unbelief.’ It is here where the church bombings fit in.

While the focus of the Indonesian pro-Islamic State network has been domestic, some Indonesian Islamic State supporters also went to the southern Philippines to participate in the battle of Marawi in 2017.30 However, the primary foreign link has been with the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq. Here, JAD, Katibul Iman/JAK, and MIT had separate connections to the key Indonesian leaders in Syria: Bahrumsyah, the commander of the Indonesian-Malay Katibah Nusantara; Abu Jandal, the former leader of Katibah Masyaariq who was killed in November 2016; Abu Walid, who is believed to be closely connected to the Islamic State’s central leadership; and Bahrun Naim, who until his death in November 2017 functioned as recruiter for amaliyat (jihadi military operations) in Indonesia.31

Indonesian counterterrorism data shows that 779 Indonesians went to Syria and Iraq between 2012 and 2018. Of these, 103 are known to have been killed. Some 539 Indonesians tried to go to Syria but were deported, mostly from Turkey.d Another 171 had plans to go but were stopped while still in Indonesia or are currently under surveillance.32 The vast majority of these were recruited through Islamic studies sessions and facilitated by groups in Indonesia’s pro-Islamic State network.33 In January 2016, political analyst Sidney Jones estimated that 45 percent of the Indonesians who went to Syria “were women and children, and not all the adult males were fighters.”34 Many were families who went to live in the caliphate, selling all their possessions to get there, without the intention of returning. This, rather than the narrative of returning foreign fighters, is borne out by Indonesian counterterrorism data, which shows only 86 of those who went to Syria and Iraq have returned to Indonesia.35

The relationship between the pro-Islamic State network in Indonesia and Indonesians within the Islamic State in Syria as well as the Islamic State more generally is a complex one that reflects the ‘glocal’ nature of the Islamic State phenomenon in Indonesia.36 The Islamic State has provided inspiration, ideological justification, and a global narrative in which the local Indonesian narrative is situated. It has also repeatedly issued instructions to the ummah (community) more broadly to carry out attacks. Before the death of Bahrun Naim, there were direct instructions for attacks from Indonesians in Syria such as the instructions to attack a police station, a temple, and church on August 17, 2015, in Solo, the planned attacks on New Year’s Eve of 2015,37 and the planned attack on the presidential palace on December 11, 2016, by what would have been Indonesia’s first female suicide bomber, Dian Yulia Novi.38 Moreover, the Islamic State has sent money to some pro-Islamic State groups in Indonesia such as MIT to purchase weapons.39 At the same time, however, the attacks by the pro-Islamic State network in Indonesia are firmly anchored in the local context, drawing upon local grievances, feeding off local debates on what it means to be a good Muslim, and pursuing the same local aims as well as striking at the same local targets as Indonesian jihadi organizations such as Jemaah Islamiyah and Darul Islam had before them.40

Southeast Asia (Rowan Technology)

Glocal Dynamics
Indonesian police chief Tito Karnavian, in his explanation of the motives behind the Surabaya church bombings, stated that at the local level these attacks were connected to the 2017 re-arrest of JAD leader Aman Abdurrahman,41 who is currently on trial in Jakarta for his alleged involvement in the January 2016 Jakarta attack.42

The church bombings coincidentally marked the peak of an upsurge in local violence. This violence started with a riot of Islamist detainees in the headquarters of the mobile police (Brimob) in Kelapa Dua, Jakarta, on Wednesday, May 8. The riot was ostensibly triggered by one of the inmates not receiving the food his wife had sent. The prisoners killed five police officers and took others hostage, all of whom were eventually released. They also posted pictures of the riots on Instagram and used social media to call for reinforcements. After the police regained control on May 10, during which one inmate was shot and killed, 155 prisoners were transferred to the maximum-security prison on Nusakambangan Island.43

This prison riot, which was not JAD-led or -directed, was followed by further violent actions against the police.44 On May 11, a Brimob officer was stabbed by a suspected Islamist extremist near the Brimob headquarters. On May 12, two women, who are believed to have been responding to the appeal for reinforcements, were arrested on their way to Brimob headquarters with scissors with which they planned to stab an official. On May 13—the day of the church bombings and the premature explosion in Sidoarjo—four alleged members of JAD were shot dead by the police in Cianjur. Two other members of this cell were arrested.45 They had been planning to attack police stations in Jakarta and Bandung, including the Brimob headquarters.46 On May 14, a family drove on two motorbikes to the gate of Surabaya police headquarters where they blew themselves up. On May 16, four men attacked police officers with swords—killing one—after crashing their car into the gate of the provincial police headquarters in Pekanbaru, Riau.47

Some analysts have incorrectly linked the Surabaya church bombings to the prison riot at Brimob headquarters, pointing to a call to jihad that went out to JAD members through social media on May 9 asking them to help the prisoners by attacking the police, non-Muslim houses of worship, crowded places, and places where heretics gather.48 On Telegram, in particular, members of pro-Islamic State chat groups were exhorted to “Support in your own cities the mujahedeen who caused the riot! Burn the assets of nonbelievers, idolaters, apostates and hypocrites!”49

The Surabaya bombings, however, were not directly linked to the prison riot. According to information from within Indonesian jihadi circles, they had been in the making for much longer, already planned before the prison riot broke out.50 Counterterrorism expert Harits Abu Ulya has posited that the Surabaya bombings were motivated by revenge against the Indonesian police, who were responsible for the many arrests of Islamic State supporters since January 2016. They were also an attempt to demonstrate that the Islamic State in Indonesia was alive and well.51 Similarly, political analyst Sidney Jones has argued that the family bombings could be viewed as “an effort to keep motivation high precisely because recruitment is declining.” She has further suggested that “now that their energies are no longer focused on getting to Syria, the Islamic State’s supporters in Indonesia may be turning their attention back to waging war at home.”52 The Surabaya bombings could thus mark the beginning of more violence in Indonesia.

The then impending month of Ramadan may also have played a role in the timing of this violence. Jihadi organizations have often marked Ramadan with a campaign of violence, spurred by the belief that the rewards are greater and that the path to paradise for those martyred is easier and faster. The Islamic State has followed this pattern with its late spokesman Abu Muhammad al-Adnani calling for attacks during the Islamic holy month in 2015 and urging Muslims “to make it a month of calamity for non-believers” in 2016.53 However, there was already a tradition of attacks during Ramadan among Indonesian jihadis that clearly predated the Islamic State. This was most obvious during the 1998-2007 conflict in Poso, Central Sulawesi, where attacks were regularly launched during Ramadan in order to ensure success and secure ‘greater rewards.’54 The most shocking of these was the beheading of four Christian school girls in 2005, whose heads were then presented as Lebaran (Eid al-Fitr) ‘gifts.’55 Attacks on churches also have a history in Indonesia that predates the Islamic State. On Christmas Eve 2000, churches in 11 cities were targeted in near simultaneous bombings. Churches were also destroyed by Muslims during the communal conflicts in Ambon and Poso.

The motive for the Surabaya church bombings was explained in issue 10 of the relaunched Al-Fatihin online magazine. Al-Fatihin was first published during Ramadan 2016 as a newsletter of the Malay-speaking muhajirin (emigrants) to the Islamic State.56 In this form, it only ever had one edition. On March 5, 2018, possibly as indication of the increased JAD activity to come, it was relaunched as a more local, Indonesia-only but still Islamic State-affiliated, now weekly online publication. Issue 10 of Al-Fatihin magazine appeared the day after the church bombings and the bombings featured as the main article under the title “Kill the idolaters wherever they are.” It took obvious pride in the capability of the ‘soldiers of the caliphate,’ highlighting the three ways these bombings were carried out: by motorcycle, explosive vest, and car. It argued that the differentiation between civilian and military was an incorrect understanding of Islam.57 It then discussed at length and in detail the targeting of “kafir Christians” who were performing idolatrous rituals at the time of the bombings. The article asserted that the blood of kafir is halal and that Islam only differentiates between believers and unbelievers, the latter including any Muslim who violates any of the “Ten Nullifiers of Islam” and anyone who defies the word of Allah.58 The reason for the Surabaya attacks was to wipe out unbelief, idolatry, and defiance of the word of Allah.59

The Widening Participation in Jihad
The Surabaya bombings saw the coming together of three different recent trends in jihadism, in particular in Islamic State-directed or -inspired attacks. These trends are an increased reliance on family or kinship networks, a recent embrace of the participation of women in attacks, and an increase in the use of children. These increases are not coincidental but, as Mohammed Hafez has pointed out, a recruitment strategy involving kinship radicalization. This strategy provides that extra layer of security as “political ideas are infused with emotional commitments” and “narrative fidelity is enhanced by actual brotherly fidelity.”60 In Indonesia, suicide bombings carried out by whole families including young children are a new modus operandi. They have been explained by the family wanting to go to paradise together.61 However, the involvement of families in amaliyat (jihadi military operations) in Indonesia itself is not new.62 The perpetrators of the 2002 Bali bombings included brothers Ali Ghufron, Amrozi, and Ali Imron. The 2009 Marriot hotel bombing included members of the extended family of Saifuddin Zuhri. Unlike the Surabaya bombings, these bombings were male only. Women in Indonesian jihadi organizations had far more traditional roles, such as wives, mothers, and teachers, but were no less important in tying together and consolidating the organization.63

This does not mean, however, that Indonesian women were not interested in pushing the boundaries of their roles. The emergence of the Islamic State provided Muslim women globally with the means to play a more active role.64 The recruitment of females by the Islamic State in order to populate its caliphate, its establishment of the Al-Khansa Brigade, and the use of social media, which leveled the playing field without violating gender separation, allowed women to push the boundaries from muhajirat (female emigrants) to mujahidat (female fighters), despite initial opposition from the Islamic State toward women combatants.65

The Islamic State’s position started to shift in late 2016. Indeed, in December, Al-Naba, the Islamic State’s newsletter, included an article stating that while jihad was not an obligation for women, “if the enemy enters her abode, jihad is just as necessary for her as for the man.”66 Battlefield evidence of this shift started to emerge in early July 2017 during the battle for Mosul when a woman carrying a baby walked up to Iraqi soldiers and reportedly detonated the explosives she was carrying. By mid-July, more than 30 women are believed to have been involved in martyrdom operations.67 This shift was confirmed in the July 2017 edition of Rumiyah magazine, which called upon women to follow the example of Umm ‘Amara, who together with four other women had militarily defended the Prophet Muhammad at the Battle of Uhud.68 In October 2017, the Islamic State called upon women to take up arms and to launch terror attacks, declaring it an obligation.69

Female Indonesian Islamic State supporters had already been pushing the boundaries considerably.70 They were very active on social media, organizing groups as well as encouraging and even recruiting men for jihad. Several played key roles in persuading their families to go to Syria. A small number joined MIT as combatants in the Poso Mountains. Some helped their husbands make bombs. And others volunteered to be suicide bombers.71 The latter included Dian Yulia Novi who in her deposition stated that she had wanted to carry out a martyrdom operation ever since she started learning about the Islamic State in 2015 through social media.72 If she had not been arrested in December 2016, she would have been Indonesia’s first female suicide bomber.

Male children have also featured regularly as Islamic State combatants, even before women joined their ranks. Indeed, Mia Bloom, John Horgan, and Charlie Winter looking at data from January 2015 to January 2016 concluded that “the use of children and youth has been normalized under the Islamic State” and that they were used in the same way that male adults would, without consideration to their age.73 This explains why the article in Al-Fatihin did not pay special attention to the fact that whole families including young children had carried out the Surabaya bombings. They were all equally ‘soldiers of the caliphate.’

Indonesian children have been part and parcel of the Islamic State project, but until the Surabaya bombings, this participation was restricted to those in Syria and Iraq. Indonesian children joined the hijrah as part of their families; Indonesian boys participated in military training as could be seen on Islamic State videos; and at least one of the boys, Hatf (12), who had gone to Syria in 2016, is known to have “died in combat with a French ISIS unit two months short of his 13th birthday.”74

Conclusion
For Islamic State supporters in Indonesia rather than in Syria, carrying out amaliyat was a way to connect with the broader Islamic State community without having to travel to the Middle East but also to connect with the dispersed pro-Islamic State community across Indonesia. Indonesian mujahidat, of course, served an additional tactical purpose as exemplified by the repeated attempts of Bahrun Naim, from his base in Syria, to recruit akhwat (sisters) for amaliyat—including instructing Dian Yulia Novi to attack the presidential palace in December 2016. He saw the use of akhwat as a way to overcome the lack of success in attacks in Indonesia in 2016 and 2017; akhwat would be able to avoid detection more easily.75 Using families for suicide bombings provides a similar tactical advantage, and becoming a mujahidin family provides a similar sense of belonging to both the broader Islamic State community and the Indonesian pro-Islamic State community. The Surabaya family bombings also exemplify the ever-broadening participation in jihad in Indonesia and the shift in jihadism more generally from the exclusive vanguard model to a more populist endeavor. It is thus unlikely that they will remain a one-off.

The push by Indonesian women to be more involved in jihadism combined with the Islamic State’s position that age and now gender are not a barrier to becoming a ‘soldier of the caliphate,’ suggest that it is likely that there will be further amaliyat by Indonesian women. Moreover, the fact that for the pro-Islamic State network in Indonesia the struggle has always been about making the local environment more ‘Islamic’ and targeting those who it believed to be an obstacle to this aim, means that Islamist violence will most likely persist. Such violence will continue to be driven by distinctly local developments. In the next year, three stand out. The first is the fate of JAD leader Aman Abdurrahman, currently on trial in Jakarta, with prosecutors seeking the death penalty. The second is the new counterterrorism legislation, which was passed in the wake of the Surabaya bombings after being under discussion in parliament for more than a year. This will undoubtedly result in further arrests of JAD members, thereby making the police even more of a target of revenge attacks. The third is the Indonesian presidential election in 2019, which pro-Islamic State Indonesian militants may seek to exploit by placing further strains on Christian-Muslim relations or by targeting the ‘kafir democracy.’

The final factor to take into consideration is the return of Indonesian foreign fighters from Syria and Iraq. As many Indonesians went to live rather than to fight in the Islamic State caliphate, analysts such as Solahudin have suggested that most have no intention of returning.76 That seems to be borne out by the current numbers. Only 86 Indonesians have returned so far, and none of those who joined the Islamic State have been involved in violence in Indonesia. Only one of these 86 perpetrated an attack on a police officer at North Sumatra police headquarters in Medan in June 2017. And he had spent six months training in Syria with the Free Syrian Army (FSA).77 While the data on Indonesians who have returned from Syria to Indonesia currently does not give credence to the narrative on the threat emanating from returning foreign fighters, that does not mean that the possibility of such a threat can be completely ruled out. Indeed, only a few highly skilled explosive trainers returning from Syria could make a great difference to JAD’s capabilities.     CTC

Dr. Kirsten E. Schulze is an associate professor in international history at the London School of Economics and an associate of the LSE Saw Swee Hock Southeast Asia Centre.

Substantive Notes
[a] Pancasila is Indonesia’s state philosophy based on five principles: belief in one God, nationalism, humanism, democracy, and social justice.

[b] Ustadz is an honorific title for a teacher of Islam. [c] Abdurrahman continued to lead Tawhid wal Jihad and to translate jihadi material from Arabic to Indonesian while in prison. He maintained a website until recently. [d] This 539 figure is a distinct number. Deportees are counted separately as they did not make it to Syria or Iraq.

Citations
[1] “Sidoarjo bomb also involved family of six: E. Java Police,” Jakarta Post, 14 May 14, 2018.

[2] Wahyoe Boediwardhana, “Suicide bombers at Surabaya Police HQ one family,” Jakarta Post, May 14, 2018. [3] Kirsten E. Schulze, “The Jakarta Attack and the Islamic State Threat to Indonesia,” CTC Sentinel 9:11 (2016). [4] Amaq, May 13, 2018. [5] Rita Ayuningtyas, “Ini Motif Bom Gereja Surabaya Versi Kapolri,” liputan6.com, May 13, 2018. [6] “Pelaku Bom Surabaya Baru Pulang dari Suriah,” Fajar Online, May 14, 2018. [7] Kanupriya Kapoor, “Family of IS-inspired suicide bombers attack Indonesian churches, at least 13 dead,” Reuters, May 12, 2018. [8] See, for example, Adham Youssef, “Gunman launches deadly attack on Coptic church near Cairo,” Guardian, December 29, 2017. See also “Pakistani Christians bury 11 after ISIS attacks Methodist church,” Christianity Today, December 19, 2017. [9] “Kapolri: Saya Klarifikasi Soal Keluarga Dita, Mereka Tidak Pernah ke Suriah,” msn.com, May 14, 2018. [10] Information obtained by the author, spring 2018. [11] Puji Kuswati’s Facebook profile, which has since been taken down. [12] “Keluarga Dita Oepriarto, Potret Bomber Surabaya di Mata Tetangga,” tirto.id, May 15, 2018. [13] Niniek Karmini, “Family That Carried Out Suicide Bombings on Indonesian Churches Was Upper-Middle Class, Neighbors Say,” Time, May 14, 2018. [14] Ibid. [15] Ibid. [16] Noor Huda Ismail, “Ideologi Kematian Keluarga Teroris,” CNN Indonesia, May 15, 2018. [17] Afrin La Batu, “Suicide bombing families attended same gathering prior to attacks,” Jakarta Post, May 15, 2018. [18] Julie Chernov-Hwang and Kirsten E. Schulze, “Why they join: Pathways into Indonesian Jihadi Organizations,”Terrorism and Political Violence (forthcoming 2018). [19] Author communication, former member of the JI markaziyah, May 2018. [20] Sidney Jones, “How ISIS Has Changed Terrorism in Indonesia,” New York Times,May 22, 2018. [21] Author communication, Indonesian Islamist in the Surabaya area, May 2018. [22] Wahyoe Boediwardhana, “Densus 88 arrests suspected terrorists in Sidoarjo, Surabaya,” Jakarta Post, May 14, 2018. [23] For a comprehensive analysis, see “The Evolution of ISIS in Indonesia,” IPAC Report 13:24 (2014). See also “Disunity among Indonesian ISIS Supporters and the Risk of More Violence,” IPAC Report 25:1 (2016). [24] Kirsten E. Schulze and Joseph Chinyong Liow, “Making Jihadis, Waging Jihad: Transnational and local dimensions of the ISIS phenomenon in Indonesia and Malaysia,” Asian Security (2018). [25] Ibid. [26] Information obtained by the author. [27] Ibid. [28] Tom Allard and Agustinus Bea De Costa, “Exclusive: Indonesian militants planned ‘dirty bomb’ attack – sources,” Reuters, August 25, 2017. [29] “Indonesia’s most wanted militant ‘killed in shoot-out,’” Guardian, July 19, 2016. [30] For detailed analysis, see “Marawi, the ‘East Asia Wilaya,’ and Indonesia,” IPAC Report 38:21 (2017). [31] Schulze and Liow. [32] Brig-Gen (police) Marthinus Hukom, “Dinamika Teror Terkini” presentation at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Jakarta, May 21, 2018. [33] Schulze and Liow. See also Chernov-Hwang and Schulze. [34] Sidney Jones, “Understanding the ISIS threat in Southeast Asia,” presented at ISEAS Region Forum, January 3, 2016, p. 1. [35] Hukom. [36] For further discussion, see Schulze and Liow. See also Kirsten E. Schulze and Julie Chernow-Hwang, “From Afghanistan to Syria: How the global remains local for Indonesian Islamist militants” in Tom Smith and Kirsten E. Schulze eds., Exporting Global Jihad (London: IB Tauris, 2019). [37] Schulze, “The Jakarta Attack and the Islamic State Threat to Indonesia,” p. 30; “Disunity among Indonesian ISIS Supporters and the Risk of More Violence,” p. 8. [38] Deposition of Dian Yulia Novi, Badan Acara Pemeriksaan (BAP) Dian Yulia Novi alias Dian alias Ukhti alias Ayatul Nissa Binti Asnawi, December 16, 2016. [39] “Disunity among Indonesian ISIS Supporters and the Risk of More Violence,” p. 1. [40] Schulze and Chernov-Hwang. [41] Ayuningtyas. [42] Kanupriya Kapoor, “Indonesian court indicts cleric accused of masterminding attacks,” Reuters, February 15, 2018. See also Karuni Rompies, “Indonesia seeks death penalty for JAD leader Aman Abdurrahman,” Sydney Morning Herald, May 18, 2018. [43] Fitra Moerat Ramadhan, “Kerusuhan setelah magrib di Mako Brimob,” Tempo, May 12, 2018. [44] Information obtained by the author, May 2018. [45] “Terduga Teroris di Cianjur Termasuk Kelompok JAD,” Republika, May 13, 2018. [46] Ayomi Amindoni, “Sel-sel JAD yang tertidur ‘mulai bangkit’ waspada aksi serupa bom Surabaya,” BBC News Indonesia, May 14, 2018. [47] Wahyudi Soeriaaatmadja, “4 men attack Riau provincial police headquarters using swords, killing one police officer,” Straits Times, May 16, 2018. [48] Zahrul Darmawan, “Pengamat: Teror Masih Berlanjut, ISIS Sebar Undangan Jihad,” Viva News, May 13, 2018. See also Amindoni. [49] Quoted in Jones, “How ISIS Has Changed Terrorism in Indonesia.” [50] Author communication, several Indonesian jihadi sources, May 2018. [51] Harits Abu Ulya, “Bom Surabaya, Antara Dendam dan Pembuktian Eksistensi ISIS,” Kompas, May 14, 2018. [52] Jones, “How ISIS Has Changed Terrorism in Indonesia.” [53] Amarnath Amarsingam and Charlie Winters, “ISIS’s perverse, bloody interpretation of Ramadan,” Atlantic, May 26, 2017. [54] “Napak Tilas Jihad di Bulan Suci,” BUNYAN, December 2001, pp. 11-16. [55] Stephen Fitzpartick, “Beheaded girls were Ramadan ‘trophies,’” Australian, November 9, 2006. [56] Al-Fatihin, edisi 1, Ramadhan 1437. [57] “Bunulah Kaum Musyrikin Dima Saja Berada,” Al-Fatihin, edisi 10, p. 1 and continued on pp. 7-10. [58] Ibid., p. 8. [59] Ibid., p. 9. [60] Mohammed M. Hafez, “The Ties that Bind: How Terrorists exploit Family Bonds,” CTC Sentinel 9:2 (2016). [61] La Batu. [62] Sulastri Osman, “Jemaah Islamiyah: Of Kin and Kind,” Journal of Current Southeast Asia 29:2 (2010). [63] For a more detailed discussion, see Ibid. [64] For a more detailed discussion, see Anita Peresin and Alberto Cevone, “The Western Muhajirat of ISIS,” Studies in Conflict and Terrorism 38:7 (2015). See also Debangana Chatterjee, “Gendering ISIS and Mapping the Role of Women,” Contemporary Review of the Middle East 3:2 (2016). [65] For a more detailed discussion, see Charlie Winter and Devorah Margolin, “The Mujahidat Dilemma: Female Combatants and the Islamic State,” CTC Sentinel 10:7 (2017). [66] “I will die while Islam while Islam is Glorious,” Al-Naba, Issue LIX, Central Media Diwan, December 12, 2016, as translated by Charlie Winters and cited in Winters and Margolin. [67] Jack Moore, “ISIS Unleashes Dozens of Female Suicide Bombers in Battle for Mosul,” Newsweek, July 5, 2017. [68] “Our Journey to Allah,” Rumiyah, Issue 11 (Shawwal 1438/July 13, 2017), p. 15. [69] Charlie Winter, “1. Big news: the latest issue of #IS’s newspaper features an unambiguous call to arms directed at female supporters,” Twitter, October 5, 2017. See also Lizzie Dearden, “ISIS calls on women to fight and launch terror attacks for the first time,” Independent, October 6, 2017. [70] For a comprehensive discussion, see “Mothers to Bombers: the Evolution of Indonesian Women Extremists,” IPAC Report 35 (2017). See also Nava Nuraniyah, “Not just brainwashed: understanding the radicalization of Indonesian female supporters of the Islamic State,” Terrorism and Political Violence (forthcoming 2018). [71] Ibid. [72] Deposition of Dian Yulia Novi, Badan Acara Pemeriksaan (BAP) Dian Yulia Novi alias Dian alias Ukhti alias Ayatul Nissa Binti Asnawi, December 16, 2016. [73] Mia Bloom, John Horgan, and Charlie Winter, “Depictions of Children and Youth in the Islamic State’s Martyrdom Propaganda, 2015-2016,” CTC Sentinel 9:2 (2018). [74] Sidney Jones, “Surabaya and the ISIS family,” Interpreter, May 15, 2018. [75] Author interview, person close to Bahrun Naim, August 2017. [76] Solahudin, “How dangerous are Indonesian returnees and deportees,” presentation at LSE, January 19, 2018. [77] Francis Chan, “Police Officer stabbed to death in Medan terror attack; 4 held,” Straits Times, June 26, 2017.

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