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Jakarta Post

'It's only a matter of time': Ex-terrorists in Central Java to reintegrate with society

  • News Desk

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Thu, February 20, 2020   /   08:00 pm
'It's only a matter of time': Ex-terrorists in Central Java to reintegrate with society Former terrorists, ustadzs and ustadzahs attend a communications workshop on countering violent extremism organized by Rosyid Nurul Hakiim and Noor Huda Ismail in 2018. (Courtesy of /Rosyid Nurul Hakiim.)




The Central Java administration is currently assisting 127 former terror convicts in a community reintegration program, head of the Central Java National and Political Unity Office Haerudin has said. 

Of the 127 former convicts, 39 of them have joined the Gema Salam Foundation, which specializes in a deradicalization program in Surakarta, Central Java.

“We are still discussing what to do next with the rest of the former convicts since they haven’t entirely been integrated with the public. They refused to open up during a meeting,” Haerudin said recently.

One of the 39 people already in the program is Joko aka Jack Harun, a former bomb-maker who was among those responsible for the Bali bombings in October 2002. He was sentenced to six years in prison, finishing his sentence at the end of 2008.

According to Haerudin, Jack was the only person who was willing to open up to the program’s officers.

“We are conducting a person-to-person approach. It’s only a matter of time [until others open up],” he said. 

Research from the National Counterterrorism Agency (BNPT) marked Surakarta and some of its neighboring regencies, namely Boyolali, Klaten, Sragen, Karanganyar, Sukoharjo and Wonogiri, as part of a “red zone” for radical teachings.

Haerudin also stated that the government was collaborating with public figures, ulema, foundations, Islamic mass organizations such as Nahdlatul Ulama and Muhammadiyah, and government institutions. 

During one of its recruitment periods, the Islamic State (IS) group was joined by at least 75 Central Java residents who were looking for a way to enter Syria and Iraq.

However, it is not known how many of them actually ended up joining the IS. The majority of them came from Surakarta and its surroundings area.

Since the downfall of the IS, the Central Java administration has refused to welcome back former IS members to their respective hometowns.

“We are following the government’s decision, since Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo has strictly refused the entry of former IS combatants to Central Java. We should have similar commitments in treating them,” Haerudin said. (dpk)