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