MOTHER OF ALL TERROR THREATS
Paul Toohey in Jakarta reveals how women are the new frontline of Indonesian radicalism
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 station.
At 11-years-old, in 2014, his parents took him with them to Syria from their home in Indonesia. There he became a poster boy for IS, appearing in one of the group’s infamous propaganda videos with a large group of Indonesian and Malaysian kids, dressed in military camouflage kit and firing guns, burning passports and swearing allegiance to the group. The type of child that experts now fear radicalised women in Indonesia are being encouraged to breed.
The boy has returned home, however, a candidate for rehabilitation, after Soleh was killed in battle.