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Jakarta Post

At Ruang Obrol, former convicts find voice to counter terrorism

  • Ko Lyn Cheang

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Wed, June 26, 2019   /  04:29 pm
The Jakarta Post Image
Former terrorists, ustadzs and ustadzahs at a communications workshop on countering violent extremism organized by Rosyid Nurul Hakiim and Noor Huda Ismail in 2018. (Courtesy of /Rosyid Nurul Hakiim.)

The office of Ruang Obrol looks more like a home than a workplace. A passerby would never guess that this one-story bungalow in a peaceful Jakarta cul-de-sac is home to an innovative new social enterprise working to prevent terrorism and radicalization in Indonesia by enlisting the help of an unexpected ally: former terrorists. "We are trying to create credible voices; that means people who are former convicted terrorists or people who went to Syria and successfully came back alive," said Rosyid Nurul Hakiim, editor-in-chief and co-founder of Ruang Obrol. "If you want someone to stop smoking, send a [former] smoker who had to pay the price for it — who got cancer — to convince the smoker to stop. Borrowing that idea, we use these voices to talk to targeted peoples about what actually happened." In the living room, 10 full-time staff members work quie...