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2022 | Book

Countering Violent and Hateful Extremism in Indonesia

Islam, Gender and Civil Society

Editors: Prof. Greg Barton, Dr. Matteo Vergani, Yenny Wahid

Publisher: Springer Singapore

Book Series : New Security Challenges


About this book

This book provides an overview of preventing and countering violent extremism (P/CVE) to assist readers in developing a more complete understanding of P/CVE and the issues of radicalisation, disengagement and rehabilitation. It shines a light on some key P/CVE programmes and initiatives in Indonesia and is written to facilitate understanding preventing and countering violent extremism in a larger frame. It is intended to be of interest to civil society activists, security practitioners, communities, policy makers and researchers alike. It represents a collaboration, born out of partnership in the field, that brings together academic researchers and civil society activists from Indonesia and Australia. Around the world, far too little is known about Indonesian society in general and Indonesian Islam and civil society in particular. This is, in large measure, because of the barrier of language. This book represents a small, but hopefully significant, contribution to opening a window to Indonesia. The focus of this book is on the challenging issues entailed with violent and hateful extremism. The initiatives it portrays and the people it describes, and whose voices it channels, are filled with the hope of transforming the world to make it better.

Table of Contents


Understanding Violent and Hateful Extremism

Chapter 1. Introduction
Violent extremism includes, but is broader than, terrorism, just as countering violent extremism (CVE) is broader in scope than counter terrorism (CT), which is largely concerned with tactical responses. CVE programs aspire to non-coercive, more holistic approaches, to the problem of violent extremism that engage the whole of society, working with women as well as men and generally led by civil society organisations (CSOs), to work further upstream than CT, in strategically preventing radicalisation and recruitment into violent networks as well as working downstream in promoting disengagement from malign social networks, together with rehabilitation and reengagement into healthy social networks. CVE programs are typically framed in an analogous fashion to public health programs: focussing on primary interventions with broad communities, secondary interventions with at-risk individuals and groups, often youth, and tertiary interventions designed to heal and rehabilitate. Tertiary interventions are often referred to as deradicalisation, but this term overlooks the dominant social and behavioural aspects and risks narrowly, and unrealistically, focusing on changing beliefs and ideas. The concept of CVE is widely misunderstood, and the terminology has acquired unwanted baggage, being seen by some to be caught up in securitisation and surveillance. Some have substituted preventing violent extremism (PVE) for CVE, but we argue that it is better to make inclusive use of the term P/CVE. At the same time, it has become clear that P/CVE concerns issues and dynamics that need to be understood more broadly, with greater attention being given to hate, hate incidents and hate crimes. Hateful extremism, being adjacent to, and sometimes overlapping with, violent extremism, should be recognised as being part of the larger problem: violent and hateful extremism (VHE). And being responsive to issues of toxic identity politics, sectarianism and misogyny, involving discrimination, prejudice and hate can lead to more effective P/CVE programs whilst also better keeping the focus on helping communities strengthen social cohesion and promoting respect for diversity and pluralism. This chapter incorporates a comprehensive compilation of the current critical literature from researchers and practitioners.
Greg Barton, Matteo Vergani, Yenny Wahid
Chapter 2. Understanding Violent Extremism in Indonesia
This chapter examines what we know about radicalisation and recruitment into violent extremism in Indonesia over the past 70 years. It reviews the emergence of proto-Islamist violent extremism in Indonesia (well before the first formulations of jihadi thought by Egypt’s Sayyid Qutb) with the Darul Islam (DI) movement in the early 1950s. It tracks the evolution of Salafi jihadism in Indonesia in successive chapters from the original DI insurgency, through Salafi extremism and the revival of DI in an underground insurgency in the 1970s, led by Abdullah Sungkar and Abu Bakar Baasyir, and their retreat, or hijrah to Malaysia in the 1980s. This is followed by the sending of mujahideen to Afghanistan in the 1980s and 1990s which culminated in the declaration of Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) in 1993, (with more extreme JI splinter factions carrying out terrorist bombings in the 2000s) leading to the engagement of JI and other extremists in the conflict in Syria and Iraq as foreign terrorist fighters (FTF), first with Jabhat al-Nusra and al-Qaeda and then with ISIS. The second half of the chapter examines the sociology and psychology of radicalisation in Indonesia by unpacking survey research carried out by LSI (Lingkaran Survei Indonesia) for the Wahid Foundation. It draws on national survey data collected in April 2016 and October 2017 with adult Muslims across Indonesia and a third survey, from March 2017, of Muslim youth involved in Rohis (Rohani Islam) religious instruction classes (Rohis). The analysis examines the key issues of imagined enemies and out groups, intergroup contact and support for extremism, the role of toxic masculinity and the contribution of digital literacy. It finds significant correlation between all of these and levels of support for violent and hateful extremism. And in particular, it finds that there is convincing empirical evidence indicating that higher levels of religious observance and religious knowledge, together with belonging to mainstream religious organisations, are associated with lower levels of support for violent extremism. Contact with religious out-groups is found to be an important factor associated with reduction of violent extremism. The quality of the relationship established with out-group members is crucial: the more substantial it is, the more likely it is to shape attitudes and perceptions. This chapter incorporates a comprehensive compilation of the current critical literature from researchers and practitioners.
Matteo Vergani, Greg Barton, Yenny Wahid
Chapter 3. Disengagement, Deradicalisation, and Rehabilitation
This chapter examines the pressing need for widely available rehabilitation and disengagement P/CVE programs in Indonesia. Whilst the overwhelming majority of P/CVE programs in Indonesia have focussed on primary intervention initiatives there have been a number of innovative pilot projects conducting tertiary interventions, some of which are covered in this book. Nevertheless, there remains a pressing need to implement rehabilitation programs in a more comprehensive fashion. As the case studies presented in this volume make clear, Indonesian civil society organisations (CSOs) have the potential to do much more in this space. What is required is leadership, support and facilitation from the Indonesian government. This will need to involve the corrections system and to be supported by the Indonesian national police but, most crucially, it needs to be led by BNPT, Indonesia’s national Counterterrorism Agency. The fact that disengagement and rehabilitation is so poorly understood, as is reflected by the blithe use of the term deradicalisation as a catch-all, speaks to the challenge facing Indonesia in preventing and countering violent extremism and terrorism. Good work by community groups, CSOs and mass organisations, and remarkably effective responses from Densus 88, the special police counterterrorism detachment, has seen Indonesia bring a once surging terrorism threat under control. But this largely tactical and reactive CT work has not been matched by comprehensive strategic initiatives to break the cycle of violence. In the democratic, post-Suharto regime, era of the past two decades, CT efforts have resulted in the disruption of hundreds of terrorist plots and operational cells and have led to the arrest of more than 1,600 individuals, the vast majority of whom have then been successfully prosecuted, convicted and sentenced on terrorism charges, in court cases generally seen to be transparent and fair. This has resulted in a very significant volume of terrorism detainees cycling through Indonesia’s leaky, overcrowded and under-resourced prison system on relatively short sentences. Given the circumstances, it is remarkable that the consequences of recidivism and re-engagement have not, so far at least, been as bad as feared. And yet, as a September 2020 report by IPAC reminds us, the rates of reengaging in extremist networks and activities mean that there are no grounds for complacency, bearing in mind the many hundreds of terrorism detainees involved and the broader networks of families, friends and associates that their lives influence. This underscores both the need to have more extensive and effective rehabilitation programs in and out of prison, and reasons for being confident that such programs can make a significant difference. This chapter incorporates a comprehensive compilation of the current critical literature from researchers and practitioners.
Greg Barton, Matteo Vergani

Case Studies in Countering Extremism

Chapter 4. An Initiative of Women in Preventing and Countering Violence Extremism: The Mothers for Change Program
Mothers are typically the pillars of their families and their communities, and because of this they have great potential to act as ‘peace agents’ at a local level. This potential has been recognised by the Mothers for Change Program, which seeks to empower mothers through leadership skills and parenting education to become agents of change within the home and play an active role in preventing and countering violent extremism. In addressing the particular challenge of radicalisation into violent extremism, the Mothers for Change Program recognises the need to educate mothers about the early warning signs of violent extremism and provide them with the leadership and communication skills, and the self-confidence, to engage their children in meaningful conversations. Through these conversations, mothers are given the opportunity to detect and engage with issues of radical ideas that may present in their children, giving them the opportunity to prevent involvement with radical or terrorist groups before it occurs. The Mothers for Change program has worked hard on equipping mothers with the requisite skills and knowledge to detect and deter radicalisation, but further support is required. In particular, more extensive collaboration with relevant partners such as civil society organisations and government bodies is required to expand and support the Mothers for Change initiative.
Dewirini Anggraeni
Chapter 5. Peace Villages
This chapter examines the Peace Village initiative, a community-based peacebuilding program that seeks to empower women to build community resilience, foster social cohesion and to prevent and mitigate hateful and violent extremism. Responding to an evident increase in the prevalence of women’s involvement in terrorism and radical groups, the Wahid Foundation and UN WOMEN developed the Peace Village initiative. Recent research has shown that there are several of key drivers that can lead women to becoming more susceptible to the appeal of hateful and violent extremism. With these factors in mind, the Peace Village Program was developed to combine systemic economic empowerment and capacity building initiatives, focused on women, to both build resilience and resistance to the appeal of hateful and violent extremism and to empower women to become effective peacemakers. By empowering women to be agents of peace within their communities, the ‘Peace Village’ initiative aims to create a societal order that is empowered to prevent the expansion of extremist ideology and behaviour at the grassroots level. By the beginning of 2020, the Peace Village initiative had worked directly with 1606 women across 30 villages in West Java, Central Java and East Java.
Visna Vulovik
Chapter 6. International and Local Actor Collaborations to Prevent Violent Extremism Among Youth in Indonesia: Initiatives and Effectiveness
In analysing P/CVE programs for youth, this chapter describes two programs, either organised or supported by two particular international institutions: Search for Common Ground (SFCG) Indonesia and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Indonesia, and examines the extent to which these programs are effective. These programs have been conducted in collaboration with various national and local actors in Indonesia. In addition to conducting various societal engagements, SFCG and UNDP have also conducted research, either to direct their P/CVE programs through baseline studies, or to build knowledge in the P/CVE sector in Indonesia at large.
Suhadi, Utami Sandyarani
Chapter 7. An Empowerment Program for Spouses of Convicted Terrorists in Indonesia
This chapter discusses evaluation of our work done by our team at DASPR to develop an empowerment program for spouses of convicted terrorists in Indonesia which seeks to support their disengagement from radical activities. As part of this DASPR program, we delivered several workshops: entrepreneurship, women’s empowerment, religious outreach, parenting, critical thinking and citizenship. Twenty-four wives of convicted terrorists between the ages of 25 and 45 participated in the study and were carefully observed both prior to, and six months after, the workshop activities. In the observational analysis, we used the following approaches: (1) thematic content analysis of Integrative Complexity (IC), (2) Visual Analysis (VA), and (3) Qualitative Thematic Analysis (QTA). IC was used to analyse the participants’ thoughts on the level of difficulty in integration before and after the programs, VA was used to understand participants’ psychological state through visual images, and QTA was used to understand participants’ verbal expressions, how they described their experiences, whether the programs we held were accepted in a positive way, and what their future plans were. From IC results, we found that from within the three areas in Java where the workshops were conducted, there was an increase in the participants’ level of IC only in the East Java group. Through VA, we found that participants were willing to open up and mingle with others by observing how they wanted to join in dancing and share their life problems with our team. Through QTA, 16 participants were observed to have responded positively to the program. The findings are discussed in order to develop further intervention programs for family members of convicted terrorists.
M. Faisal Magrie, Idhamsyah Eka Putra, Any Rufaedah, Vici Sofianna Putera

Key Issues

Chapter 8. Gendering CVE in Indonesia
The use of gender analysis to explore women’s involvement in violent extremism and their potential as actors in P/CVE in Indonesia became a critical issue in Indonesia in 2016 following the narrowly averted suicide bombing by a female perpetrator, the first of its kind in the country (Purba, 2016). Analysis of media reports and literature on this issue reveals that gender analysis has been valuable in providing awareness and understanding about gender dynamics in violent extremism, women’s roles in supporting violent extremism and women’s participation in P/CVE in Indonesia. It remains challenging, however, to fully integrate gender analysis into the domain of P/CVE strategy due to limitations that see gender issues compartmentalised and oversimplified as being inherently ‘women-only’, feminine, issues. Stakeholders in Indonesia need to develop a comprehensive understanding of the contribution that gender analysis can offer, so that this approach may be integrated into the country’s security sector. This includes developing a robust monitoring and evaluation system to review the effective inclusion of gender analysis in PCVE. This chapter incorporates comprehensive references from practitioner and scholarly literature.
Hana Hanifah
Chapter 9. Countering Violent Extremism in Indonesia: The Role of Former Terrorists and Civil Society Organisations
Violent extremism and terrorism continue to represent a serious threat in Indonesia. Although there has been a decline in the immediate threat of terrorist attacks from the decades-old Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) network, new networks have emerged linked to the Islamic State (IS) movement. The declaration of the IS caliphate on 29 June 2014 saw a surge in popular support for the movement and its utopian campaign in Syria and Iraq (El Rahman, V. [2017]. MengapaSuriahMenjadiTujuan “Berjihad” Masyarakat Indonesia? Retrieved from https://​www.​idntimes.​com/​news/​indonesia/​vanny-rahman/​mengapa-suriah-menjadi-tujuan-berjihad-masyarakat-indonesia-1/​full. Accessed 29 November 2020.). In 2015 Aman Abdurrahman, one of Indonesia’s most senior and influential terrorist leaders, established Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD) to coordinate support for Islamic State (IS) in Indonesia and successfully operated as leader even while incarcerated on terrorism charges. At the same time, many hundreds of Indonesians, men, women, and children, set out for Syria to join the fabled caliphate.
In the light of this renewed threat, numerous government institutions and civil society organisations (CSOs) have engaged in various interventions intended to prevent and counter violent extremism (P/CVE). Many different approaches and initiatives have been developed to disengage those that have become radicalised into violent extremism as well as to prevent the spread of the throughout Indonesian society of the ultra-conservative ideology that underpins hateful and violent extremism.
This article explores a range of initiatives that have been developed by CSOs in Indonesia which incorporate former terrorists in programs which occur either within or outside of prisons. This chapter also looks at initiatives conducted by CSOs to support former terrorists outside of prisons and support their reintegration into society. The experience of these programs in Indonesia, and of many other programs around the world, is that very often the most effective approach is to involve repentant former terrorists in P/CVE programs as credible voices. Because of the potential of this approach, it is argued that more use needs to make of ‘formers’ by both the government and CSOs dealing with radicalism or violent extremism in Indonesia.
Muhammad Wildan
Chapter 10. The Dynamics of Islamic Mass Organisations in Preventing Violent Extremism
Wachid Ridwan
Chapter 11. Online P/CVE Social Media Efforts
Violent extremist groups have increasingly turned to online platforms such as social media and online messaging providers to distribute content, to engage with their audiences and to recruit new followers. Recognising the challenges presented by new and evolving communications technologies, governments, civil society organisations and the tech industry have begun to develop innovative counter terrorism (CT) and preventing and countering violent extremism (P/CVE) initiatives to tackle violent extremism in the online space. This chapter explores some of these initiatives by first distinguishing online CT efforts from online P/CVE efforts, before exploring both in more detail, with a particular focus on P/CVE. These online P/CVE efforts are broadly categorised as counter narratives, remedial interventions, positive and alternative narratives and critical thinking/resilience. A series of examples of these efforts are provided, including cases from within Indonesia and best practice examples and pilot studies conducted around the world. This chapter concludes by providing a series of recommendations informed by existing approaches and research gaps. This chapter incorporates comprehensive references from practitioner and scholarly literature.
Ruici Tio, Samantha Kruber
Chapter 12. An Introduction to Social Enterprise for Practitioners in Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism
This chapter provides analysis to guide practitioners in Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism (P/CVE) in establishing a social enterprise (SE) to fund and assist their work. Essentially, a SE is a business with a social and/or environmental mission. The chapter explores social enterprise and social entrepreneurship, providing international and Indonesian examples, and discusses a plethora of creative ways SE could support P/CVE and practitioners’ target communities/groups. This is underpinned by concepts, practices and lessons learned by peacebuilders and business leaders demonstrated in the emerging field of ‘Business for Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism’, and the more well-established ‘Business for Peace’ field. Importantly, practical steps and issues to reflect upon when establishing a SE are presented, along with Indonesian examples, literature, websites or organisations providing assistance. Finally, the chapter alerts to organisations that assist with training, funding, investment and capacity-building; understanding different models of SE and choosing an appropriate legal entity; and possible challenges to be faced and some solutions. This chapter incorporates comprehensive online links, e-resources and references from practitioner and scholarly literature.
Natalie Ralph

Developing Capacity

Chapter 13. Capacity Gap Analysis of Civil Society Organisations Working Against Violent Extremism in Indonesia and South East Asia
This chapter examines the findings of three annual capacity gap analysis surveys of civil society organisations (CSOs) belonging to the SEAN-CSO network (South East Asian Network of Civil Society Organisations working against violent extremism), which is a network that brings together key regional civil society organisations working on P/CVE-related initiatives. The findings represent a window into the current workings of CSOs engaged in P/CVE work in South East Asia. The surveys found that Indonesian CSOs reported to having relationships with a relatively large number and variety of partners, compared to the CSOs operating in other South East Asian countries. This is significant because access to stable, sustained funding appears to represent one of the greatest challenges faced by CSOs in this space. Foreign partners are best placed to provide resources to launch sustainable initiatives in the P/CVE space (e.g. social enterprise), and to collaborate on research initiatives. But for some CSOs in sensitive contexts collaboration with foreign entities can also undermine relationship with communities. Although CSOs work extensively with government, there is much room to improve relationships between CSOs and governments in South East Asia. This is the case in all four countries considered; however, Malaysia and Thailand in particular have reported the least positive relationships.
Dan Goodhardt, Matteo Vergani, Greg Barton, Samantha Kruber
Chapter 14. Conclusion: The Way Forward
The case study contributions to this book reveal the importance of recognising the full range of actors involved in P/CVE and the need to foster deep collaboration between these diverse stakeholders. Greater collaboration between these actors is necessary to help create more effective programs and responses and facilitate more efficient alignment between stakeholder activities. One welcome and important development is the shift towards more fully supporting the contributions of women to P/CVE. Traditionally, both violent extremism and P/CVE have been dominated by men and masculine narratives of security, violence, war and state power, while women have been marginalised and issues of gender deemed irrelevant. Working with women in developing economic independence can also play an important role in capacity building and empowering women to be agents of peace within their families and broader communities, as well as preventing women from engaging in violent extremism themselves.
Most P/CVE programs work at the level of primary intervention. Tertiary intervention programs aimed at disengagement and rehabilitation—loosely referred to as deradicalisation—remain limited but Indonesia has benefitted from a range of CSO-run P/CVE programs conducted with former terrorists. These include 1) prison-based programs working with convicted terrorists, 2) youth programs aimed at preventing young people from succumbing to the appeal of terrorist groups and 3) economic empowerment programs to help prevent former convicted terrorists from re-engaging in violent extremism. Up until now, however, there is an evident lack of coordination between the CSOs and government bodies such as BNPT in conducting in-prison initiatives.
The other great challenge facing CSOs in this field is stable access to funding. There is considerable potential for social enterprise to provide an alternative to traditional, and often limited, funding sources for P/CVE organisations and practitioners through economic empowerment and sustainability. The research agenda needs to continue to seek ways to build the capacity and financial sustainability of CSOs, improve their relationships with key stakeholders and support monitoring and evaluation practices to work towards establishing and sharing best practices.
Samantha Kruber, Yenny Wahid, Matteo Vergani, Greg Barton
Chapter 15. Appendix: How to Design Impact Evaluations of CVE Programs—A Practical Guide for Indonesian Civil Society Organisations
This booklet is intended to complement William’s guidebook (2021) and existing P/CVE toolkits, in particular RAND’s toolkit (Helmus et al., 2017), Hedayah’s evaluation toolkit (Mattei & Zeiger, 2018), USIP’s introduction to evaluation (Holmer et al., 2018) and International Alert and UNDP’s toolkits (Holdaway & Ruth, 2018). It seeks to offer practical advice to civil society organisations about how to design an evidence-based evaluation of P/CVE programs. The final section contains a library of measurement tools as a first step towards standardisation of P/CVE evaluation measurement in Indonesia. Currently, we lack a comprehensive understanding of what works to prevent violent extremism because we don’t have enough reliable evaluations of P/CVE programs to form our evidence base. We argue that it is useful to think that the difficulties encountered in conducting rigorous evaluations are not so very different from the ones that other social programs have to deal with, for example prevention programs that aim at reducing the incidence of risky behaviours among stigmatised communities, including gang violence, alcoholism, drug addiction, obesity and family violence (McDonald et al., 2012; Swinburn et al., 2007). Consequently, we need to closely examine the evaluations conducted in these related fields and learn from the methods used to overcome these barriers. We should seek to make good use of tools and best practices from fields like psychology and criminology to identify best practices and lessons learned to reduce the impact of problems related to social desirability bias in evaluation surveys.
Matteo Vergani, Greg Barton, Muhammad Iqbal
Countering Violent and Hateful Extremism in Indonesia
Prof. Greg Barton
Dr. Matteo Vergani
Yenny Wahid
Copyright Year
Springer Singapore
Electronic ISBN
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