[Jakarta, 27 February 2023] One extended multi-generational family committed to violent extremism can pose major challenges for law enforcement. An Indonesian network in Makassar, South Sulawesi demonstrates how such a family can facilitate the process of radicalization, increase the vulnerability of children to recruitment and complicate detention and post-release monitoring issues. In this case, the family network extends beyond Indonesia to the southern Philippines and Syria.
Indonesia’s Villa Mutiara Network: Challenges Posed By One Extremist Family, the latest report from the Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict (IPAC), explores how seven siblings and their multiple spouses and children became a network of some 80 individuals, inspired by ISIS after the declaration of a caliphate in June 2014. The eldest sibling, a man named Rizaldy, became the leader. He was killed, together with a son-in-law, in a police operation in January 2021. Most of the rest of the network were arrested, tried and convicted by late 2022. The question is what will happen after their release.
“Discouraging ISIS supporters from returning to their old networks is difficult under the best of circumstances, but it’s even harder when the network is your own family,” says Syafiq Hasyim, research director of IPAC.
In this case, ten of the women and some of the men have renounced violence but whether that proves lasting will depend on their experiences in prison and the environment once they are released. The danger remains that some of the family members could still find the extremist teachings from their old group compelling, or that a few of the younger generation could find a misguided heroism in the actions of their elders. In any case, the extended family of the Villa Mutiara group presents a useful case study for what happens to a close-knit network over time.