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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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Society

Colombia Celebrates Its Beloved Drug For The Ages, Coffee

This essential morning drink for millions worldwide was once considered an addictive menace, earning itself a ban on pain of death in the Islamic world.

Colombia's star product: coffee beans.

Julián López de Mesa Samudio

-Essay-

BOGOTÁ — October 1st is International Coffee Day. Recently it seems as if every day of the calendar year commemorates something — but for Colombia, coffee is indeed special.

For almost a century now we have largely tied our national destiny, culture and image abroad to this drink. Indeed it isn't just Colombia's star product, it became through the course of the 20th century the world's favorite beverage — and the most commonly used drug to boost work output.

Precisely for its stimulating qualities — and for being a mild drug — coffee was not always celebrated, and its history is peppered with the kinds of bans, restrictions and penalties imposed on the 'evil' drugs of today.

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