Violent extremists may be deradicalised with social services, says Jakarta-based think tank

image: Antara/Irsan Mulyadi.

 

JAKARTA  —   Violent extremist groups in Indonesia that are influenced by the Islamic State ideology may be rehabilitated if the government can provide them with social services, the Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict (IPAC) based in Jakarta said in a report released on Monday (Feb 12).

It said groups such as the Seventh Regional Command (KW7) based in Bandung, West Java have resisted extremist teachings for a long time due to the social services, such as health and education benefits provided to its members. However, the group then became convinced of IS’ ideology and formed the Bandung branch of the Jamaah Ansharul Daulah (JAD), a terrorist group that pledges allegiance to IS.

IPAC now believes there’s a chance that members of the group can be reformed. “One model to explore for communities with histories of extremism might be to focus on social service delivery through leaders who themselves have disengaged from violence,” said IPAC Director Sidney Jones in the report. The report said that influential teachers have the ability to recruit large numbers of followers into extremist groups, and they can possibly influence them to quit the groups as well.

Members of the JAD Bandung were responsible for the double suicide attacks at the Kampung Melayu bus terminal in East Jakarta in May 2017 that left three police officers dead. The IPAC report said that by now, most of the members of JAD Bandung were inactive, in prison or dead. “There are now more than 30 members of this group in detention, including some 20 in the detention centre at paramilitary police headquarters in Kelapa Dua, south of Jakarta,” said Ms Jones.

She added that some of the members are reportedly having second thoughts about the IS ideology, following the militant group’s defeats in the Middle East. “The chances of their disengaging from further violence are high, as long as they are not detained with other IS militants and further radicalised,” said Ms Jones.

 

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