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Abu Sayyaf Group

Definition/Scope: Abu Sayyaf, whose name means “bearer of the sword” in Arabic, is a militant organization based in the southern Philippines. It seeks a separate Islamic state for the country’s Muslim minority. The group calls itself "Al-Harakat Al-Islamiyya" or the "Islamic Movement". The name Abu Sayyaf was derived from the kunya adopted by Abdurajak Janajalani when he named his oldest son Sayyaf, thereby becoming Abu Sayyaf or the father of Sayyaf. Its first leader was Abdurajak Janjalani, a Philippine Muslim who fought in the international Islamist brigade in Afghanistan during the Soviet occupation. Mohammed Jamal Khalifa, a Saudi businessman living in the Philippines, provided crucial financing and organizational support for Abu Sayyaf in its early years. From 1998 to 2006, the group was led by Khadaffy Janjalani, who took over the leadership position when his older brother Abdurajak was killed. Historically, Abu Sayyaf has engaged in bombings, assassinations, kidnappings, and extortion. In February 2004, the group planted a bomb in a passenger ferry docked off the coast of Manila, killing more than one hundred people. The Philippine government is in the middle of a military offensive against Abu Sayyaf rebels in efforts to quell the group's attacks against civilians.

Used For:

Al Harakat Al Islamiyya



Broader Terms:

foreign terrorist organization

Narrower Terms:


Related Terms:

Laskar Jihad
Moro Islamic Liberation Front

CALL Homepage >> Thesaurus Last Updated: Sept 17, 2008