October 02, 2012
Indonesians are taking action to protect vulnerable young people from extremist influences that can ultimately destroy lives – including their own.
That danger was illuminated anew in late August when two young suspects, 19-year-old Farhan Mujahidin and 20-year-old Mukhsin Sanny Permady, were shot dead by police following a string of terrorist attacks on police stations in Solo in which one police officer was killed.
Most young Indonesians involved in terrorist attacks are still searching for the truth about themselves, Minister of Education and Culture Muhammad Nuh said at the Indonesian Ulema Council's (MUI) national co-ordination meeting in Jakarta on September 3rd.
"Teens at this level are still unstable, so do not be surprised if they go seeking answers about things including their life principles," he told the press. It is precisely at this time that they must be well taught and nurtured.
"Indonesia is our home, so we will not do anarchist acts in our homes. The loss will be our own," said Muhammad. "In some cases, youth involvement [in militant extremism] can be caused by alienation at school, home or in other parts of social life. Bullying also could be a factor."
Irfan Idris, deradicalisation director of the National Counter-Terrorism Agency (BNPT), said the deradicalisation effort must broadly involve educational institutions, and the government must also involve educators to design specific training, he said.
"We're trying to disseminate re-education in schools, universities, religious institutions including mosques and churches," Irfan said. "So, these places will not propagate intolerance or hatred."
"Do not be easily provoked"
The guidance presented by Muhammad Nuh was immediately embraced by educators in Madiun.
Pesantren Al-Muttaqien teacher Suparlan Ahmad, 56, said he would provide additional training to make students aware of any misleading religious doctrine or incorrect interpretation of the holy Qur'an or any religious holy book.
The training began September 12th and was mandatory for all students.
"The young generation in this pesantren needs to know that Islam does not teach any misleading or radical actions, destructive actions, including terrorist acts. Islam teaches Muslims to love and cherish," Suparlan told Khabar Southeast Asia.
"I think the terrorists are just not in love with Islam," he said. "If they love Islam, they would not be arbitrary and violate the true teachings of Islam."
Dwi Prihantini, a 15-year-old at Al-Muttaqien who also participated in deradicalisation training, believes those who spread radical teachings to young children should be dealt with firmly. Otherwise, she said, the number of young people involved in radical acts will continue to rise.
"My friends, please do not be easily provoked by groups that engage in violence, especially terrorism and radicalism," she told 200 of her classmates.
Mustaffa Agung, 51, Muslim leader and a teacher at the Islamic boarding school Al-Hikmah in Madiun, said radicalism and terrorism target many teens in the city.
One of the participants in the 2009 attack on the Marriott Hotel in Jakarta, Dani Dwi Permana, was only 18, he warned.
"We should embrace young people with positive activities to train them to be more sensitive with any wrong doctrine about terrorism, jihad, and any brainwashing related to radical doctrines," he told Khabar.
"People do not have the right to choose death, because life and death are decided by the Almighty."