Women, kids now join ter­ror ranks


Sunday Mail - - NEWS - PAUL TOOHEY

IN­DONE­SIAN women de­nied a role by ter­ror groups Je­maah Is­lamiah and al-Qaida are en­list­ing as sol­diers of the Is­lamic State, pre­pared to at­tack their coun­try’s new-found democ­racy and em­brac­ing or­ders to re­pro­duce and ed­u­cate chil­dren as fu­ture jihadists.

In­tel­li­gence of­fi­cials in Jakarta have told Sun­day Mail they be­lieve there are at least 500,000 In­done­sians “ac­ti­vated for ji­had” on Aus­tralia’s doorstep, at­tribut­ing the huge num­ber to the re­cent emer­gence of women hard­lin­ers.

Aus­tralia has be­gun pay­ing aid money to rein­te­grate mainly fe­male jihadists into so­ci­ety in a world-first pro­gram that is so far see­ing lit­tle suc­cess.

Mira Kusamarini, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Civil So­ci­ety Against Vi­o­lent Ex­trem­ism (CSAVE) said most were deaf to de­rad­i­cal­i­sa­tion.

“It’s the role of women, through their re­pro­duc­tive role, to pre­pare and pro­duce the fu­ture jihadists,” Ms Kusamarini said. “Women see them­selves as do­ing some­thing holy and good. They say, ‘I’m serv­ing the jihadists, I’m serv­ing the he­roes’.”

More than 500 In­done­sians – mostly women and chil­dren – have been de­ported from Turkey af­ter be­ing blocked try­ing to en­ter Syria and have re­turned to live openly in the com­mu­nity.

The Depart­ment of For­eign Af­fairs and Trade has pro­vided an ini­tial $272,000 in start-up fund­ing to C-SAVE.

So far, it has ac­com­mo­dated 180 peo­ple for one-month stays in a de­rad­i­cal­i­sa­tion cen­tre in east Jakarta be­fore they are re­leased with min­i­mal fol­low-up. The pro­gram has had mixed re­sults. The women jihadists re­ject main­stream news but fol­low ex­trem­ist so­cial me­dia. They ap­pear un­aware that ISIS is fall­ing apart in Syria and Iraq, be­liev­ing in­stead the world is at “the end of days” for all ex­cept those who live in Syria un­der pro­tec­tion of the caliphate.

Fida Han­i­fah Kae­lani, 23, a fol­lower of Jakarta ex­trem­ist Syam­sudin Uba, who spent six months in prison for sup­port­ing ISIS, said it was her am­bi­tion to live in Syria.

For­bid­den to al­low any­one out­side her fam­ily and re­li­gious cir­cle hear her voice, she was granted rare per­mis­sion by her hus­band who sup­ports ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Bagh­dadi.

“This is a dream I am chas­ing,” said Fida. “But the ob­sta­cles are many. Be­cause of fi­nance, the path to get there is dif­fi­cult, the point of de­par­ture it is dif­fi­cult, mi­grat­ing is dif­fi­cult, but the re­sult will be beau­ti­ful.”

Asked if she feared vi­o­lence in Syria, she said: “As Mus­lims, we are only afraid of one thing and that is Al­lah.

“I’m un­der pres­sure (in In­done­sia) be­cause we have to fol­low the demo­cratic ways. Democ­racy is not part of Is­lam.”

DREAM: Fida and hus­band Fachry want to go to Syria. Pic­ture: ARDILES RANTE

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