Muslimah Reformis

Trends for Radicalism and Violent Extremism in Asia (Indonesian Case)

Indonesia is currently facing a situation of escalating intolerance, radicalism, terrorism and violent extremism. Some regions are showing a worrying trend of intolerance combined with increasing political identity issues. Young people are vulnerable to exposure to radicalism that tends to be anti-pluralistic. As a nation that is open to the outside world, Indonesia is feeling the impact of the global war against terrorism. The root of the problem is global political injustice that gives rise to poverty, social disparity, and oppression steeped in exclusive theology. And so anti-West, anti-America, anti-capitalism, anti-modernity, anti-globalization, and anti-thagut slogans are emerging. Terrorism uses religion for justification.

The roots of Islamic radicalism have been present in Indonesia since the early years of independence, and some experts even say that it was eveident since long before that. The Islamic State Indonesia movement (NII) was a very strong indication in that direction. The remain followers of this organization have joined Al-Qaeda and ISIS. They take advantage of any sign of the government’s weaknesses. If the government is weak, then these Islamic groups become stronger. This situation is further aggravated by the expansion of the HTI as a trans-national organization. In addition, ISIS is using the Internet as a media to spread their ideology and terror at the same time. The ISIS terrorist network, including in Indonesia, has changed strategies by using the media for propaganda, and lone wolves. The current trend of terrorists is no longer dominated by adult males, but also by women and even children.

Therefore, CVE measures must undergo a fundamental change. Aside from taking advantage of sophisticated technology, the approach used must adopt the principles of justice and gender equality as well as rely on the experience of women. Women are effective weapons as counter-terrorism agents through creation of strategies and community-based programs. Women (wives) can also be seen as the important agents to strengthen the spirit of nationality through the values of tolerance.

The government must think of a comprehensive counter-terrorism strategy combined with efforts to promote pluralism within a civilized and democratic framework in a systematic way. In addition to all that, the government must also resolve the root causes of terrorism, namely injustice, poverty and social disparity. Then the government must settle the various internal conflicts that have never been resolved as well as the political dissatisfaction that has been an ongoing problem for so long. At the same time, there is a need for concrete counter ideology measures through education in the widest sense of the word, including counter radicalism and terrorism efforts through moderate and family-based religious education.

Finally, the government must always prioritize a human rights framework. The government and the civil society need to synergize and work together to improve the quality of education in politics of citizenship, democracy, human rights and Pancasila values. In implementing those educational programs, the government needs to involve civil society organizations and women’s NGOs, political parties, religious community organizations, professional and entrepreneur groups, cultural, arts and disability groups. It is only then that we can achieve an Indonesia that is democratic, pluralist, advanced and prosperous.


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