Indonesia 'Deradicalization': Turning Terrorists Into Business Owners

Outside home of suspect in June's terror attack on North Sumatra Police Headquarters
Outside home of suspect in June's terror attack on North Sumatra Police Headquarters
Giacomo Tognini

JAKARTA — While Western countries grapple with the question of what to do with militants returning after fighting alongside the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, Indonesia has launched a deradicalization program that helps former fighters open their own businesses, according to the Indonesian magazine Tempo.

The program aims to help returning militants and their families, including those who are not themselves terror suspects, become financially independent and reintegrate into society. It was launched by Indonesia's National Counterterrorism Agency (BNPT) in collaboration with 32 ministries and institutions.

"If they want to learn sewing, they will be sent to tailor shops. If they want to open an online shop selling clothes, they will be coached," BNPT deradicalization director Irfan Idris told Tempo. "They will no longer have to go abroad to commit terrorist acts if the country is taking care of them."

The agency has provided deradicalization training for a 600 militants in the program. A recent group included 15 returning Indonesian citizens, several of whom had spent time in Raqqa, the Islamic State's former capital in Syria.

In June, the BNPT began requiring all Indonesians returning from Syria to enroll in the de-radicalization program. The training includes attending one month of sermons by Muslim religious scholars to counter the Islamic State's ideology, according to Indonesian daily The Jakarta Post.

"The Indonesian government helped us come home," said Nur, a woman who attended the entrepreneurship training. "We will be able to open a business, we can seize this second chance to live normally."

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A Mother In Spain Denied Child Custody Because She Lives In Rural Area

A court in Spain usurps custody of the one-year-old boy living with his mother in the "deep" part of the Galicia region, forced to instead live with his father in the southern city of Marbella, which the judge says is "cosmopolitan" with good schools and medical care. Women's rights groups have taken up the mother's case.

A child in Galician countryside

Laure Gautherin

A Spanish court has ordered the withdrawal of a mother's custody of her one-year-old boy because she is living in the countryside in northwestern Spain, where the judge says the child won't have "opportunities for the proper development of his personality."

The case, reported Monday in La Voz de Galicia, has sparked outrage from a women's rights association but has also set off reactions from politicians of different stripes across the province of Galicia, defending the values of rural life.

Judge María Belén Ureña Carazo, of the family court of Marbella, a city on the southern coast of 141,000 people, has ordered the toddler to stay with father who lives in the city rather than with his mother because she was living in "deep Galicia" where the child would lack opportunities to "grow up in a happy environment."

Front page of La Voz de Galicia - October 25, 2021

Front page of La Voz de Galicia - Monday 25 October, 2021

La Voz de Galicia

Better in a "cosmopolitan" city?

The judge said Marbella, where the father lives, was a "cosmopolitan city" with "a good hospital" as well as "all kinds of schools" and thus provided a better environment for the child to thrive.

The mother has submitted a formal complaint to the General Council of the Judiciary that the family court magistrate had acted with "absolute contempt," her lawyer told La Voz de Galicia.

The mother quickly accumulated support from local politicians and civic organizations. The Clara Campoamor association described the judge's arguments as offensive, intolerable and typical of "an ignorant person who has not traveled much."

The Xunta de Galicia, the regional government, has addressed the case, saying that any place in Galicia meets the conditions to educate a minor. The Socialist party politician Pablo Arangüena tweeted that "it would not hurt part of the judiciary to spend a summer in Galicia."

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