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On New Trend of Women’s Extremism

JAKARTA – A number of activists and researchers who are members of the Working Group on Women and Preventing / Countering Violent Extremism (WGWC) network are concerned about terrorism and violent extremism. They gathered and held a national meeting titled “Women and Prevention of Extremism: Reading a New Trend” in Jakarta, Monday (10/3/2020). This activity presented experts and activists on peace issues from practitioners, academics, religious organizations, and policy makers.

“The issue of women and children in violent extremism is one of the issues that is worrying and needs to get serious attention from various parties,” said Riri Khariroh, a member of the WGWC Steering Committee who was a former Commissioner of the National Commission for Women for the period of 2015-2019.

Riri also said, the quite complex role of women as supporters, educators of the new generation of jihadists, recruiters, fundraisers, actors, and also agents of peace must be seen by using a good gender perspective, so that power relations on the issue of violent extremism can be revealed.

Another issue that was discussed was the pros and cons of returning Indonesian citizens (WNI) ex-ISIS who were involved in the conflicts in Syria and Iraq. Responding to this, Taufik Andrie, Director of the Peace Inscription Foundation (YPP), gave a perspective on how the issue of repatriation of ex-ISIS should have a clear roadmap, involving many parties from both the government and civil society, especially in the rehabilitation and reintegration stages. Reflecting on the return and deportant return case in 2017, the rehabilitation and reintegration process has not been going well.

Regarding policy, Mira Kusumarini, Executive Director of C-SAVE (Civil Society Against Violent Extremism) said that Law No. 5 of 2018 concerning handling of criminal acts of terrorism has been ratified and accommodates the needs of prevention, law enforcement, protection of victims and law enforcement officers. Government Regulation No. 77 of 2019 as a legal product derived from Law No. 5 of 2018 has also been approved to describe the technical implementation of efforts to prevent criminal acts of terrorism including national preparedness, counter radicalization and deradicalization.

Mira also mentioned, in Article 43D paragraph 2 letter f of Law No. 5 of 2018 mandates people or groups of people who already have a radical understanding of terrorism and have the potential to commit criminal acts of terrorism to obtain a program of deradicalization or rehabilitation and reintegration. However, Mira added, although some have been ratified, there are still many other policies at the central and regional levels that must be ratified and developed immediately, especially policies that are gender responsive.

“So far the issue of extremism and radicalism has never been seen from a gender perspective, so the WGWC wants to create new spaces for all elements of both civil society and government to use gender perspectives in peace work,” concluded Ruby Kholifah, WGWC Steering Committee.

These peace activists gathered for two days, 9-10 March, 2020. The first day was a national conference aimed at discussing the latest issues, opening learning spaces, and best practices in the effort of gender mainstreaming in the area of prevention, counter radicalism , rehabilitation and reintegration. Also enlivened by the stand up comedy Sakdiyah Ma’ruf who also spoke about how comedy is used to give birth to new narratives in the fight against intolerance and gender injustice.

In this activity also launched the #StandWithWomenPeacebuilders global campaign. Whereas the second day was filled with annual meetings that would consolidate the women’s movement and violent extremism at the national and regional levels. (DP)

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