Through the Militant Lens: The Power of Ideology and Narratives

21 Jun 2012

By Rohan Gunaratna and Orla Hennessy (Former ICCT Programme Officer)

In March 2012, Prof. Dr. Rohan Gunaratna interviewed Umar Patek and Ali Imron, both of whom have admitted involvement in the two bomb attacks in Bali in October 2002 which killed over 200 people. This ICCT Research Paper explores violent extremist “narratives” within the Indonesian context by interviewing a convicted terrorist (Ali Imron) and one currently undergoing trial (Umar Patek). It is hoped that by understanding and de-constructing those emotional stories or ideologies that are often told and used to justify violence, or to motivate someone to commit violence, in pursuit of a cause; that the policy making community can then counter these narratives more effectively. This Paper first explores the background of violent extremist narratives and then recounts and analyses the Patek and Imron interviews. Based on these interviews and current knowledge of violent extremist narratives, the paper concludes with a series of recommendations.

Download the Research Paper.

Update: On 21 June 2012, Umar Patek was found guilty of murder and bomb-making in connection with the Bali attacks, he was sentenced to 20 years in prison.


How to cite: Gunaratna, R. and O. Hennessy. “Through the Militant Lens: The Power of Ideology and Narratives”, The International Centre for Counter-Terrorism – The Hague 3, no. 4 (2012).

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.19165/2012.1.04