The 21st Century Phenomenon




* Ali  Ghufron, aliasMukhlas, was born in 02/02/1960 in the sleepy village of Tenggulun, East Java. He is the older brother of Ali Amrozi and Ali Imron and had strong influence on his two younger brothers. 

Ali Ghufron studied at the Islamic school in Ngruki, Solo, Central Java, run by the founder of the INDONESIAN JIAbu Bakar Bashir.

In the mid 80s’ Ali  Ghufron left home and went to Malaysia looking for a better job. He married Farida, the younger sister of Nasir bin Abas, a Malaysian who once served as the Malaysian chairman of the INDONESIAN JI network known as “Mintiki -3”* (section 3).

In 1987 Ali Ghufron went to Pakistan, he met Arab Mujahidin there, and joined them in Afghanistan. He fought in Afghanistan as a member of Osama Bin Laden’s “International Brigade”.

In 1991 Ali Ghufron returned to Indonesia and, under the instruction of the Abu Bakar Bashir and Abdullah Sungkar, founded in his remote homeland in East Java, an al-Mukmin Islamic boarding school based on his old school at Ngruki. Soon the school served to recruit future Mujahidin. One of the first teachers in 1991 was Noordin Mohammed Top.

According to intelligence sources Ali Ghufron replaced Hambali in early 2001 as the operational leader of “Mantiqi 1”* (section 1) – Indonesia. He attended the Bali plotters’ initial Bangkok Meeting with Hambali, in 01/2002, at which a decision was taken to bomb “soft” targets (unguarded targets like tourist resorts, malls and shopping areas).  

Ali Ghufron is believed to be the mastermind of the Bali ‘02 Bombings. He was arrested in early 12/2002 in Jawa.  Ali  Ghufron admitted involvement in the Bali attack but denied a direct role in the actual bombings. He also testified that he knew Osama Bin Laden well.

On 07/30/2003, a JI leader detained in Malaysia and a Muslim Cleric from Chinese origin, Wan Min Wan Mat, testified through video in his trial.  Wan Min Wan Mat  said he had given Ali Ghufron, whom he knew as Muklas, cash amounting to approximately US $35,000 for the Bali operation, at Hambali’s request. He also asserted that the money had come directly from Al Qaeda and that the money was not to be used only for the bombings in Bali, but also for other attacks in Indonesia.

On 08/07/2003 Ali Ghufron, alongside his brother Ali Amrozi and Imam Samudra, was convicted and sentenced to death, but due to technical judicial difficulties his death sentence was suspended. Ali  Ghufron was detained in the prison island of Nusakambangan, Indonesia.  

Epilogue ;

In Jail Ali Ghufron is working on his autobiography, which paints the Bali bombing as “an act of vengeance for America’s tyranny against Muslims in the Middle East”. Ali  Ghufron was executed by a firing squad on Sunday 11/09/2008 dawn.


* Note:  ‘Mintiki’ comes from the Arab word ‘Mintaka’ – meaning territorial section or region. INDONESIAN JI was divided into four operational sections

* Related topics –  



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