“It is extremely difficult to reform terrorists because we are trying to destroy years of indoctrination and misinterpretation of Islam.” One wonders why it is so difficult. If their misinterpretation of Islam is so clear, one would think it wouldn’t be all that hard to explain that to the likes of Abdullah Sonata and other jihadists, who are generally very devout and anxious to the right Islamic thing.
Unless, of course, the “misinterpretation of Islam” that the jihadists use to justify their actions and make recruits is based on a broad, mainstream tradition in Islam — a tradition that is yet to be successfully challenged on Islamic grounds by self-proclaimed moderates.
“Terrorist ‘Rehab’ a Failure: Minister,” from the Jakarta Globe, June 26 (thanks to Nicolei):
The government’s deradicalization program aimed at getting convicted terrorists to renounce violence has been declared a failure in the wake of this week’s arrest of suspect Abdullah Sonata, who was released from prison in 2009 on good behavior.
“We have to say that generally the program has failed,” Minister of Justice and Human Rights Patrialis Akbar said on Friday. “There are convicts who have successfully been re-integrated back into society, leaving behind their old ways. But successes are few compared to those who remain unreformed.”
“It is extremely difficult to reform terrorists because we are trying to destroy years of indoctrination and misinterpretation of Islam,” he said. “We will solicit help from psychologists, experts, criminologists and clerics to determine the best means to reform hard-core terrorists.”
Sonata, 32, was arrested on Wednesday for his suspected involvement in a plot to carry out Mumbai-style attacks in Jakarta that police said targeted several high-profile figures, including President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. […]
Local terror deprogramming efforts have been led largely by police, unlike similar programs in Saudi Arabia, Malaysia and Singapore. The main thrust behind the police efforts is getting prisoners to give up violence and co-opting them as informers. While officers provide financial help to reformed inmates and their families, little is done to challenge their radical religious beliefs, such as the goal of imposing Islamic rule. […]
Sonata was arrested in 2005 for possession of weapons and for hiding Noordin M Top, the slain terrorism mastermind.
Behind bars, Sonata was viewed as a shining example of how criminals can change. “He was a nice person, cooperative with our rehabilitation program,” said Noor Huda Ismail, executive director of the Inscription Peace Foundation, established in 2008 to turn terrorism inmates around. “But in the end, he was a failure.”
I wonder why!