Women, kids now join terror ranks
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