‘Derad­i­cal­ized’ IS sup­port­ers back in so­ci­ety

The Jakarta Post - - NATIONAL - Mar­guerite Afra Sapiie

Fif­teen of 18 re­turnees from Syria com­plete de­rad­i­cal­iza­tion pro­gram For­mer IS sup­port­ers tes­tify IS pro­pa­ganda tricked them

Life with the Is­lamic State (IS) in Syria was noth­ing like the group pro­moted on the in­ter­net, as IS mil­i­tants, it turned out, en­dorsed vi­o­lence and bru­tal­ity even to­ward other Mus­lims.

That was the gist of tes­ti­monies made by 18 In­done­sians who had spent nearly two years with the IS in Raqqa, Syria, be­fore fi­nally re­turn­ing to In­done­sia with the help of the gov­ern­ment on Aug. 12.

Di­fansa Rach­mani, 32, de­scribed IS’ teach­ings as “rot­ten” and the op­po­site of true Is­lam, which val­ued ev­ery hu­man life, while IS mil­i­tants ex­e­cuted any­one who did not ad­here to their be­liefs.

“From what I saw, IS pur­sues three things: power, money and women [...] IS is not about en­dors­ing true Is­lam,” Di­fansa tes­ti­fied in a video re­leased by the Na­tional Coun­tert­er­ror­ism Agency (BNPT).

Heru Kur­nia, 55, also re­counted IS’ grue­some ex­e­cu­tions. Two weeks be­fore he fled IS ter­ri­tory, he was hor­ri­fied by a beheaded corpse put in a clock tower.

Dwi Djoko Wi­woho, 50, a for­mer high-rank­ing of­fi­cial in Batam, Riau Is­lands, who took his wife and three daugh­ters to join IS in 2015, re­counted, “It was said there were free schools, but when we ar­rived, they asked [women] to marry them. Many peo­ple came to ask to [marry] my lit­tle daugh­ter,” Dwi said in the video.

The three were among 18 for­mer IS sup­port­ers who had been de­tained at BNPT’s de­rad­i­cal­iza­tion cen­ter in Sen­tul, West Java, to en­gage in de­rad­i­cal­iza­tion pro­grams since their ar­rival in In­done­sia, last month.

On Wed­nes­day, 15 of them — nine women, five men and three chil­dren — were re­leased from the cen­ter to rein­te­grate back into so­ci­ety.

Dur­ing the one-month de­rad­i­cal­iza­tion pro­gram, they par­tic­i­pated in pro­grams about na­tion­al­ism, re­li­gious knowl­edge, as well as psy­chol­ogy, BNPT’s head of pen­i­ten­tiary su­per­vi­sion sub-direc­torate Col. Andy Prase­tyo said.

“They re­al­ized that [In­done­sia] was bet­ter and de­cided to come home [...] For them, this is their sec­ond chance to live whole­heart­edly in this na­tion,” he said re­cently.

The 15 peo­ple were re­turned to their orig­i­nal com­mu­ni­ties un­der the co­or­di­na­tion of of­fi­cials from the Home Min­istry, as well as mil­i­tary and po­lice of­fi­cers in their re­spec­tive home­towns, Andy said. He added that BNPT had also handed over their med­i­cal and psy­cho­log­i­cal data to the of­fi­cials.

As many as 10 were sent to Bo­gor, West Java, while Dwi’s wife and their three chil­dren are now in Ci­payung, East Jakarta. One per­son had joined the com­mu­nity in De­pok, West Java, ac­cord­ing to BNPT’s de­rad­i­cal­iza­tion di­rec­tor Ir­fan Idris.

Heru and Dwi are among the three peo­ple who are yet to be re­turned home.

The An­titer­ror­ism Law in the coun­try does not carry crim­i­nal charges against those who travel abroad to join ter­ror­ist move­ments.

The Na­tional Po­lice recorded that at least 600 In­done­sian cit­i­zens de­parted for Syria last year. From 2014 to Jan­uary 2017, the Turk­ish gov­ern­ment de­ported 225 In­done­sians who had at­tempted to join IS.

The BNPT and rel­e­vant stake­hold­ers would con­tinue to mon­i­tor those who com­pleted the de­rad­i­cal­iza­tion pro­grams and en­gage in di­a­logues with them to en­sure they would not dis­sem­i­nate or re­turn to rad­i­cal­ism, Ir­fan said.

“No one can guar­an­tee whether they will re­turn [to rad­i­cal­ism] or not [...] but we place faith in their prom­ises to sup­port the gov­ern­ment to pre­vent peo­ple from fall­ing for [IS] pro­pa­ganda,” he told The Jakarta Post on Fri­day.

He ex­pressed hope the pub­lic would ac­cept the for­mer IS sup­port­ers and help them in­te­grate back into so­ci­ety.

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