Counterterrorism drive ‘a long shot’

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Headlines | Sun, September 09 2012, 9:40 AM

The National Counterterrorism Agency (BNPT) has targeted the wrong groups in its counterterrorism drive, resulting in the recurrence of bomb attacks in the country, observers say.

Muhammadiyah Youth-wing organization chairman Saleh Daulay said that the BNPT’s programs in fighting against radicalism and terrorism had been ineffective as the agency only created programs for moderate groups, not for the radical ones.

“The programs have not touched the real roots of radicalism or involved people with the potential to engage in terrorism,” he said in a discussion on Saturday.

Judging by the people involved in the recent attacks in Surakarta, Central Java, Saleh said terrorist groups were more successful in gathering and training new members than the government was at preventing them.

A terrorist group attacked police officers on three occasions over two weeks in August, claiming the life of Brig. Dwi Data Subekti, 54, two members of the group were later killed by the police.

The police shot dead Farhan Mujahid and Mukhsin Tsani, both 19-year-old men. The National Police revealed that the attackers were bent on revenge against law enforcement officers who had rounded up their fellow terrorists.

Saleh said that the fact that the alleged terrorists were relatively young showed that the groups had successfully regenerated and remained a threat to the country.

“The BNPT should target people allegedly involved in radicalism,” he said.

A spokesman for Jamaah Ansharut Tauhid (JAT), an organization that has been linked to radical groups, Son Hadi, said that the BNPT never engaged with people who were inclined to get involved in jihad in discussions to understand their motivation and perspectives.

“By discussing with them, we will be able to understand the real problems so we can find the right solutions,” he said.

He added that the BNPT also needed to act fairly when dealing with alleged terrorists because mistreatment could create a desire for revenge among their families or other group members. The BNPT’s deradicalization director Irfan Idris said that deradicalization took time.

“We understand that our efforts have been far from perfect as we are just beginning the programs,” he said, adding that the BNPT also lacked personnel.

Irfan explained that his agency was now undertaking programs such as conducting religious education workshops on campuses and in Islamic boarding schools, engaging with religious leaders and rehabilitating former terrorists.

Irfan said that the BNPT had to monitor at least 40,000 institutions comprising Islamic boarding schools, houses of worship and religious communities who might be linked with terrorist activities.

Irfan also mentioned that around 200 people had been imprisoned for terrorist activity and who would need to be rehabilitated.

An observer of the Islamic movement in the country, Edi Sudrajat, said that countering terrorism was not only the government’s duty.

“All people have the same obligation to fight terrorism,” he said.

He added that violent teachings would not flourish if conditions did not support their spread. (cor)


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