Police guard buildings in Jakarta from possible terrorist attacks following last year’s presidential election in this file photo. Indonesian police say that money from 13,000 charity boxes across the country are being used to fund terrorist activities. (Photo: Konradus Epa/UCA News)
Thousands of charity boxes placed outside shops across Indonesia are being used as a front to raise funds for terrorist groups, according to police
At least 13,000 charity boxes supposedly helping the needy were in fact a major source of funding for extremists, a National Police spokesman said on Dec. 9
“The funds collected are used to send people to Syria, to fund military training, help wanted terrorists to evade capture, and to purchase guns and explosives,” Brigadier-General Awi Setiyono was quoted by medeka.com as saying.
The boxes are located in many parts of the country, including the capital Jakarta.
Setiyono said generally the charity boxes were found outside minimarkets, malls, and public buildings.
He pointed to boxes placed by one supposed charity group called the BM ABA foundation.
The foundation's leaders were among the upper leadership of Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), a terror organization based in Southeast Asia that has links with al-Qaeda, according to Setiyono.
He did not go into detail about boxes belonging to other charity organizations but said many people were likely being hoodwinked into helping extremists.
Stanislaus Riyanta, an intelligence analyst from the University of Indonesia said it was an ingenious way by terrorists to raise money.
“By claiming to be a charity, the general public will have no idea they are actually funding terrorists,” he said.
He said police need to make people aware of which charities are being used as fronts for such activities.
Riyanta also said JI has been focused in recent times on recruiting new members.
According to Bruce Hoffman, a global terrorism expert, the estimated number of JI members in Indonesia stands at about 3,000. Most were trained in Afghanistan and the southern Philippines.