BRIDES WAR ON TER­ROR OF JI­HAD TAKE VOW Women swell ranks of ter­ror­ists tar­get­ing In­done­sian democracy

The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - - NEWS - PAUL TOOHEY

IN­DONE­SIAN women who have been de­nied a role by ter­ror groups Je­maah Is­lamiyah and al-Qa’ida are en­list­ing as Is­lamic State sol­diers pre­pared to at­tack their coun­try’s new­found democracy and em­brace or­ders to re­pro­duce and ed­u­cate chil­dren as fu­ture jihadists.

In­tel­li­gence of­fi­cials in Jakarta told The Sun­day Mail they be­lieved at least 500,000 In­done­sians were “ac­ti­vated for ji­had” on Aus­tralia’s doorstep, at­tribut­ing the huge num­ber to the re­cent emer­gence of fe­male hard­lin­ers.

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

Mira Kusamarini, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of C-SAVE, or Civil So­ci­ety Against Vi­o­lent Ex­trem­ism, said most were deaf to de­rad­i­cal­i­sa­tion.

But she said they had to try some­thing un­til In­done­sia passed laws, pos­si­bly this year, to crim­i­nalise cit­i­zens who had become for­eign fight­ers.

“It’s the role of women, through their re­pro­duc­tive role, to pre­pare and pro­duce the fu­ture jihadists,” said Ms Kusamarini.

“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. They now live openly in the com­mu­nity, where they pre­fer to home school chil­dren out­side the gov­ern­ment sys­tem.

An­other 180, who have re­turned from the bat­tle­field hav­ing fought or acted in sup­port roles for ISIS, are also liv­ing freely, with so far no laws avail­able to pros­e­cute them.

This year, the Depart­ment of For­eign Af­fairs and Trade 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 – which seeks to co-or­di­nate the repa­tri­a­tion of jihadists from Tur­key and Syria and to gen­tly ap­proach the moth­ers on their views, in­clud­ing en­cour­ag­ing trau­ma­tised chil­dren not to be afraid of singing or clap­ping – has had mixed re­sults.

“Most of the de­por­tees would still like to get to the caliphate,” said Ms Kusamarini.

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 the pro­tec­tion of the caliphate.

Fid Fida H Han­i­fah ifah Kae­lani Kae­lani, 23 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 the Syr­ian caliphate or be part of one at home.

For­bid­den to al­low any­one out­side her fam­ily and re­li­gious cir­cle to hear her voice, she was granted rare per­mis­sion by her hus­band and Syam­sudin, who openly sup­ports ISIS leader Abu Bakr alBagh­dadi, to speak out.

“This is a dream I am chas­ing,” said Fida. “But the ob­sta­cles are many. Be­cause of fin fi­nance, the path to get there is dif­fi­cult,fic the point of de­par­turede is dif­fi­cult,cu mi­grat­ing is dif­fi­cult,di but the re­sul­tre will be beau­ti­ful.”be Asked if she feared vi­o­lence in Syria, she said: “As Mus­lims, we are only afraid of one thing and that is Al­lah. In­shal­lah, we will not be afraid, we will not trem­ble at what they will do to us. “If you’re ask­ing me do I feel un­der pres­sure (in In­done­sia), yes, of course I’m un­der pres­sure be­cause we have to fol­low the demo­cratic ways. Democracy is not part of Is­lam.” The first-ever would-be In­done­sian fe­male sui­cide bomber was sen­tenced a fort­night ago for plan­ning to at­tack the pres­i­den­tial palace last year. Her lawyer told The Sun­day Mail: “She has no re­grets.”

Tau­fik An­dre, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of Jakarta’s the In­sti­tute for In­ter­na­tional Peace Build­ing, which is also try­ing to pro­vide a counter-nar­ra­tive to ji­had and ter­ror, said the role of women jihadists is “a new phe­nom­e­non for me”.

“I’ve stud­ied Je­maah Is­lamiyah and women were never at­tracted to it like they are now. They were not im­por­tant in JI – they were se­cond or third layer. Now, with ISIS, they have much more strate­gic roles.

“Us­ing mo­bile phones, they do re­cruit­ment and fundrais­ing. Now they can do the same as a man. The fatwa from ISIS cler­ics says you can op­ti­mise your po­ten­tial, even women or kids. You can fight the en­emy us­ing any tools or equip­ment.”

RAD­I­CAL UNION: Fida Han­i­fah Kae­lani and her hus­band, Fachry; Mira Kusamarini (left) ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of C-SAVE; an Is­lamic State mil­i­tant (far left) in Raqqa, Syria. Main pic­ture: Ardiles Rante

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