Solo woman shocked by reports of son's death in Syria

"I have no clue how he became involved in this … I am still hoping the report about him is wrong."

By Yenny Herawati for Khabar Southeast Asia in Solo, Central Java

October 25, 2014
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Uncertainty about her son's fate torments Ngadilah, the mother of an alleged Indonesian member of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria ( ISIS ) reportedly killed in Syria on October 16th.

  •  Ngadilah, the mother of an alleged ISIS fighter reportedly killed in Syria, responds to questions from reporters at her home in Solo on October 19th. [Khalid/Khabar]

    Ngadilah, the mother of an alleged ISIS fighter reportedly killed in Syria, responds to questions from reporters at her home in Solo on October 19th. [Khalid/Khabar]

"I am shocked to hear the news," she told Khabar Southeast Asia. "I love him deeply, and I do not know what is going on with him right now."

Her son Ridwan, 26, was one of three Indonesians killed October 16th during an attack by Kurdish forces on a vehicle carrying ISIS fighters near the town of Kobane, along the Turkish-Syrian border, the Jakarta Post reported Wednesday (October 22nd).

The Indonesian government has yet to confirm the deaths of Ridwan and his two countrymen.

"I will keep my hope while waiting for confirmation from the government," Ngadilah said.

News about Ridwan's death broke October 16th, when a blogger, , reported about the Kurdish attack via his Twitter account. Yuunus also tweeted an image showing Ridwan's photo and identity card.

Citing blogs and social media websites, the Post reported that Ridwan had travelled from Indonesia to Qatar and then on to Turkey, from where he crossed into Syria.

Ridwan came from Solo (Surakarta), Central Java. His mother said she had no idea he had become radicalised, travelled to the Middle East, or joined a jihadist movement like ISIS.

Ngadilah, 46, said she last saw Ridwan sometime last year. At the time, he told her he was moving to Medan, North Sumatra, to teach at a Muslim school.

"When he left to Medan, he said that he was going to teach at a pesantren. As you know, it is very common for Muslims to teach other Muslims to learn about Islam, even though he was relatively young," she said.

"I have no clue how he became involved in this. He is a good Muslim, very good," she added, tearfully. "I am still hoping that the report about him is wrong…I hope he will come back and tell me in person. It is very saddening to know that he is involved in violence under the name of jihad."

Commenting on the case, Solo police chief Iriansyah said he could not confirm Ridwan's identity as one of the people killed in Syria.

"We hope to get clarity as soon as possible. We are currently co-ordinating with the central office in Jakarta as well as with the National Counterterrorism Agency (BNPT)."

Sri Yunanto, a BNPT official, said the agency was seeking confirmation on the deaths of Ridwan and several other Indonesians reportedly killed in action in the Middle East.

"We are continuing to work with intelligence officials from Turkey and Syria. [We] hope that we will get more information very soon," Sri told Khabar.

Reacting to the reports, Pasar Kliwon district resident Sulis Rukmiyati urged young people to exercise caution in responding to calls to radicalism .

"Someone like Ridwan is a good example of why we have to be careful. No matter how good you are as a Muslim, if you have a wrong understanding, it can lead you to wrong doing," she said.

Reader Comments
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    • elisa yunita
      October 25, 2014 @ 12:10:29AM
    • I am also saddened, hopefully Mrs. Ngadilah is given strength by God to face this trial.

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