As with Saudi Arabia‘s “rehabilitation” efforts, the main goals here appear to be protecting the regime and stopping domestic jihad attacks — those could hurt Muslims. While the article notes that “the Indonesian police believe ‘that if they could overcome this “¦ then other deeply held jihadist tenets would also be questioned’,” is there any effort to follow through on that opportunity? And before they reduce or drop charges, are authorities sure the “deradicalized” detainee has truly had a change of heart, and wasn’t simply telling them what they wanted to hear?
“Analysis: Indonesia tries deradicalization,” by Shaun Waterman for UPI, July 22:
WASHINGTON, July 22 (UPI) — Indonesia is one of several Southeast Asian nations that are following the lead of Arab countries like Saudi Arabia and launching programs to rehabilitate jailed Islamic extremists — known as deradicalization.
But according to experts and two recent studies, Indonesia’s deradicalization program — a much smaller and less formalized affair than those run by its neighbors Singapore and Malaysia — does not try to get the extremists to break with their radical, political interpretation of Islamic ideology, but rather to renounce violence, specifically suicide bombings and other mass casualty attacks on civilians.
The program “doesn’t try to deradicalize them (in the sense of abandoning their interpretation of Islam) — they’re trying to get them to renounce violence,” Zachary Abuza told United Press International. […]
Kirsten Schulze, a senior lecturer in international history at the London School of Economics, writes in this month’s edition of the center’s publication, CTC Sentinel, that “there are two key issues that (the program’s leaders) wanted to deradicalize in the jihadist mindset: the killing of civilians and the ‘need’ for an Islamic state.”
The latter principle is at the root of the anti-state aspects of Indonesian jihadi ideology, which sees “everyone who works with or for the government” as an unbeliever.
Schulze writes that the Indonesian police believe “that if they could overcome this “¦ then other deeply held jihadist tenets would also be questioned.”
But the program, in Schulze’s telling, does not seem to systematically challenge the basic justification of violent jihad.
“While the killing of civilians by suicide bombings is being challenged,” she concludes in the study, “jihadist violence perpetrated in the Ambon and Poso conflicts has been condoned.”
In both areas, armed Islamic militias took part in bitter and bloody religious conflict, but it was seen by radicals as part of a defensive jihad, a struggle for survival by the Muslim population — in which it is legitimate to use violence. […]
There’s more to it than that. Poso has been the site of a great deal of violent clashes and persecution of local Christians. Ambon saw widespread violence between Christians and Muslims between 1999 and 2002, and was part of a failed bid for independence in 1950.
In his experience of the program, “Violence is the bright line,” he told UPI. “They are not trying to get people to turn away from political Islam.”
All three experts commented on the specific, perhaps unique, history of Indonesia — an Islamic nation with very tolerant traditions towards its non-Muslim minorities.
O’Brien said the program is based on “building a relationship, building trust” with the participants, and involves providing for the families of those who want to take part.
And sometimes a party.
“It is difficult with people (directly) involved in killings,” he said, adding the program was aimed primarily at people “on the periphery.”
The intervention begins when the jihadis are in police custody, he said, and indeed, their participation in the program can result in their charges being lessened or dropped altogether.
“That’s an option: charge them with a lesser (non-terrorist) offense or nothing,” he said….