Victims of violence hope to change terrorist mindset

Those who have suffered at the hands of violent extremists believe some recruits will be moved to repent once they understand how terrorism destroys lives.

By Elisabeth Oktofani for Khabar Southeast Asia in Jakarta

September 14, 2013
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Victims of terrorism gathered on Sunday (September 8th) to commemorate a tragic episode in Jakarta's recent history – namely, the 9th anniversary of the 2004 Australian Embassy bombing, which killed nine people and wounded at least 150 others.

  • Sudirman Abdul Talib, 31, a victim of the 2004 Australian Embassy bombing, believes some terrorists do not understand the impact of their actions. [Elizabeth Oktofani/Khabar]

    Sudirman Abdul Talib, 31, a victim of the 2004 Australian Embassy bombing, believes some terrorists do not understand the impact of their actions. [Elizabeth Oktofani/Khabar]

"Many people might have forgotten [about the incident]. But I think it is important to make them aware that the terrorists' victims do exist, and we are still struggling with the aftermath of the attacks," said Mulyono Sutrisman, chairman of the Kuningan Forum, an association of people who have been affected by extremist violence.

Such atrocities must not happen again, he said at the event, which was sponsored by Alliance for Peaceful Indonesia (AIDA)

Sudirman Abdul Talib, 31, is a former security guard at the embassy. He lost his left eye in the attack and suffers from a permanent disability affecting both of his hands.

"As victims, we want to be involved in the government's deradicalisation programme, in eliminating terrorism and preventing the growth of violent extremism in Indonesia,” Sudirman told Khabar Southeast Asia.

He believes that if all victims are united against terrorism and promote peace, it will make a difference in the future.

"We just want to be involved in making Indonesia more peaceful," he added.

Sudirman, who now works as an administrative staff member for the security guard department, says he does not want to become a prisoner of the trauma he experienced. He believes his story can be used to change the minds of those who have been misled by violent and extremist groups.

"I have met a few former convicted terrorists. I told them about the impact of the terrorism. They were shocked and cried. They regretted their actions and apologised," Sudirman said. "It is clear to see that sharing and explaining the impact of terrorism on the victims is an effective method to convince them [terrorists] to stop their actions."

A crucial role in combating extremist notions

The director of AIDA, Hasibullah Satrawi, said that Indonesia has the potential to win the battle against terrorism – not only because of law enforcement efforts, but also because victims of terrorism have been willing to join in efforts to combat it.

"The victims play a strategic role in bringing Indonesia to a more peaceful place," he said. Therefore, it is very important to empower the victims – whether mentally, physically, or financially."

Al Chaidar, a terrorism analyst, agreed that those affected by violence have great potential to combat recruitment by extremist groups. He agreed that the government should involve victims of terrorist activity in deradicalisation programmes.

"By meeting and seeing the victims, the terrorists would consider the actions that they are going to take because they have seen the impact of their attacks," he added.

Sudirman, the wounded security guard, says he is troubled that his hometown of Bima, in West Nusa Tenggara, is being appropriated by terrorists as a base for planning their attacks. In 2011, police raided the local Umar bin Khattab Muslib Boarding School, where they found bomb-making materials as well as weapons and jihadist videos.

"Bima is a very religious place," Sudirman said. Muslims pray five times a day and have strong faith. As far as I know, they are not radical people. They need moderate religious leaders to tell them that Islam is actually a religion of peace," he said.

Those vulnerable to the message of radical terrorists need to be aware of the consequences of violence, he reiterated. "They need to meet people just like us to show them the impact of terrorist acts. It is also hurting Muslims as well," Sudirman said.

Reader Comments
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    • syafrullah
      November 26, 2013 @ 11:11:15AM
    • What should receive our attention are places of entertainment that produce loud noises and strip the people inside of any sense of shame. It is not modern (not appreciative of time and not forward thinking) because it has become so commonplace that it is taken as the norm, just as rivers have become polluted. That is not the way of humans but of the evil and the like. People used to worship more and therefore the evil existed outside the human body, but when worship is lacking, evil and devils would dare enter/merge with the human body just as it is now where many human bodies have become one with evil/devils. Remember, if your worship is lacking it is better to remain idle because you will end up succumbing to desire.
    • Repanajadeh
      November 12, 2013 @ 06:11:43AM
    • It is good then, there are still terrorists.
    • Repanajadeh
      November 12, 2013 @ 06:11:55AM
    • Scared?
    • berlian
      November 10, 2013 @ 08:11:09AM
    • Success.
    • Awni ramadanti cania
      November 9, 2013 @ 04:11:00AM
    • What are my future goals?
    • panji al fatih
      November 7, 2013 @ 11:11:40AM
    • agree.
    • Nany
      November 6, 2013 @ 11:11:00AM
    • Why do problems like this exist?
    • thiling daesbro
      November 5, 2013 @ 12:11:47AM
    • Why must we fight each other and why must there be terrorism? Please answer.
    • iyank
      November 10, 2013 @ 10:11:13PM
    • A person who does not think very much.
    • jumariel
      November 4, 2013 @ 07:11:47AM
    • Human beings are meant to have sense and intelligence and the terrorists have always wanted to destroy the occupiers who are no better than terrorists. But with all their cleverness and cunningness, they have quietly occupied and taken control of a part or all of the Indonesian Republic with their wealth. Whether you are an insider or an outsider it is all the same. They don't think of other people. These are crazy times. It was better under Mr. Harto.
    • Misbahuddin Nur
      November 4, 2013 @ 12:11:13AM
    • Life's problems are always there, the circle of troubles and ease will always be there with every step of our lives.
    • iwan
      November 3, 2013 @ 03:11:18AM
    • Why be shy about posting a comment?
    • Arya
      November 12, 2013 @ 12:11:47AM
    • I would like to know how many restaurants there are on Tanjung Balai Jalan Batu 8.
      November 3, 2013 @ 02:11:06AM
    • Are there no lists of officials?
    • Imam setiawan
      November 1, 2013 @ 08:11:59AM
    • The Isha prayer call has sounded, are you all going to pray?
    • usman
      November 1, 2013 @ 03:11:16AM
    • As long as we do right by ourselves, other people will benefit. On the other hand, when we do not respect ourselves, there is no way we could respect others. Fix yourself first and then pass it on to others. Regards.
      October 31, 2013 @ 11:10:15PM
    • Dami
      October 26, 2013 @ 05:10:45AM
    • Why are there still terrorists? Terrorists are not doing anything wrong because they seek to eradicate corrupt people from this country.
    • sukma laras perlaya
      October 20, 2013 @ 06:10:59PM
    • Great article.
    • evi
      October 14, 2013 @ 05:10:50AM
    • There are perties that fishing in murky waters, there are parties who want the world religious and believe in God was destroyed, kill and destroy each other. All the control already exists..The people who bekieve in God is a scapegoat. Thanks.
    • shane thomas
      October 3, 2013 @ 06:10:37AM
    • meeting the victim seems to be working in other areas ...cant see why it shouldnt work with terrorists it is still one individuals violence toward another

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