Paul Toohey in Jakarta re­veals how women are the new front­line of In­done­sian rad­i­cal­ism

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - NEWS -

WOMEN are the new sol­diers of Is­lamic State, will­ing to at­tack the democracy they hate and eager to ed­u­cate a new gen­er­a­tion of child jihadists.

In­tel­li­gence of­fi­cials in Jakarta told The Sun­day Tele­graph there were at least 500,000 In­done­sians “ac­ti­vated for ji­had” on Aus­tralia’s doorstep and this is due to the re­cent emer­gence of hard­line rad­i­cal women.

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 is “a new phe­nom­e­non for me”.

“I’ve stud­ied Je­maah Is­lamiah and women were never at­tracted to it like they are now,” he said. “They were not im­por­tant in JI — they were se­cond or third layer. Now, with IS, they have a much more strate­gic role.

“Us­ing mo­bile phones, they do re­cruit­ment and fundrais­ing. Now they can do the same as a man.

“The fatwa from IS cler­ics says you can op­ti­mise your po­ten­tial, even women or kids.

“You can fight the en­emy us­ing any tools or equip­ment.”

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 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 later this year, crim­i­nal­is­ing for­eign fight­ers.

More than 500 In­done­sians, mostly women and chil­dren, have

Democracy is not part of Is­lam Fida Han­i­fah Kae­lani, ISIS sup­porter

It’s the role of women to pre­pare and pro­duce

fu­ture jihadists Mira Kusamarini,Kusamarini ex­trem­ism ex­pert

With ISIS, women have a much more strate­gic role Tau­fik An­dre, Ji­hadism ex­pert

been de­ported from Tur­key af­ter be­ing blocked try­ing to en­ter Syria and now live openly in the com­mu­nity, where they pre­fer to home­school the chil­dren.

An­other 180 who have re­turned from the bat­tle­field are also liv­ing freely, with no laws avail­able to pros­e­cute them.

“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’.”

Ear­lier this year, DFAT 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 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.

“Most of the de­por­tees would still like to get to the caliphate,” Ms Kus- amarini said. The women jihadists re­ject main­stream news but fol­low ex­trem­ist so­cial me­dia. They ap­pear un­aware that IS is fall­ing apart in Syria and Iraq, be­liev­ing in­stead the world is at “the end of days” for all ex­cept those who live un­der pro­tec­tion of the caliphate.

Fida Han­i­fah Kae­lani, 23, a fol­lower of Jakarta ex­trem­ist Syam­sudin Uba, who spent six months in prison for sup­port­ing IS, said it was her am­bi­tion to live in the Syr­ian caliphate or else be part of one at home.

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

“This is a dream I am chas­ing,” Fida said. “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. 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 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 Tele­graph: “She has no re­grets”.

In­done­sian and Malayasian boys in the IS pro­pa­ganda video.

HE was a child of hate, born of a mother and fa­ther who fed him the blood­thirsty big­otry of Is­lamic ex­trem­ism. His fa­ther, Soleh, was a “for­mer” ter­ror­ist who fought on the In­done­sian island of Am­bon and was ar­rested in 2005 for at­tack­ing a po­lice...

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