28 February 2024

Napiter Lapas Porong saat pemilu 2024.jpg
Prisoners in Porong Prison during the 2024 Elections

[Jakarta, 28 February 2024] The keys to successful deradicalisation programs in Indonesia are careful targeting, sustained personal attention, and provision of selected religious reading materials to those in prison.

“An Indonesian Deradicalisation Program that Works”, the latest report from the Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict (IPAC) in Jakarta, examines one program undertaken by a unit of Detachment 88, Indonesia’s counter-terrorism police, that has successfully changed the way that a group of formerly hardline ideologues think about violent jihad.

“The accepted wisdom for the last decade is that the aim of prison programs should be to change behaviour, not ideology,” says Syafiq Hasyim, IPAC research director. “But this program has demonstrated that with the right approach, former extremists can come to realise that their interpretation of religious texts is flawed.”

The report looks at how a Densus unit, IDENSOS (an acronym for the Directorate of Identification and Socialisation), was apparently able to convince four imprisoned pro-ISIS leaders that they had been misled and that several of their ideological premises were wrong. The four were Kiki Muhammad Iqbal, a two-time recidivist from West Java; William Maksum, a religious teacher from Bandung; Iskandar alias Abu Qutaidah from Bima, West Nusa Tenggara, who had served as spokesman for a prisoner uprising against police and prison staff in 2018; and Ustad Yasin, a cleric whose school became the centre of ISIS activity in central Sulawesi. In all cases, there were other factors besides the IDENSOS program that led them to question their beliefs but the sustained attention from police who themselves were devout Muslims was a crucial element.

The report examines the history of deradicalisation initiatives in Indonesia and how approaches have changed over time. It also notes that even the successful IDENSOS program faces obstacles in implementation. These include corruption in prison that allows wealthy narcotics dealers and white-collar corruptors to pay their way into less harsh prison regimes, taking up space that deradicalised prisoners have been promised. Bureaucratic procedures sometimes mean that those prisoners, promised early release, have to wait until well beyond their scheduled release for paperwork to be completed, creating new grievances. Punishing corruption and streamlining procedures would strengthen the IDENSOS program.

IPAC also recommends that more attention be made to women’s networks outside prisons, since the attitude of spouses can be a major factor in whether in-prison transformations of male prisoners can be sustained after their release.



Kekerasan Akibat Ekstremisme

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