Indonesia announces deradicalisation programme


Indonesia is stepping up efforts to combat religious radicalism, officials said Tuesday after a spate of terror-related incidents, but analysts accused the government of churning out empty rhetoric.
Vice President Boediono announced a “deradicalisation” programme involving 24 government ministries and agencies after a closed-door meeting with ministers and counter-terrorism experts.
“This deradicalisation blueprint must certainly be comprehensive to achieve our goals,” he said on his website, without giving details. Like many Indonesians, Boediono goes by one name.
Officials said the programme is still being worked out and is expected to be implemented next year.
Indonesia has won praise for rounding up hundreds of Islamist militants since it became a key battlefield in the “war on terror” in 2002 when local radicals detonated bombs on Bali island, killing 202 people, mainly Westerners.
But analysts say Islamic radicalism and religious intolerance are on the rise, blaming the authorities for failing to crack down on violent vigilante groups in the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country.
“I’m extremely sceptical about the latest initiative. The government hasn’t done enough. It has always been rhetoric, without a single, concrete effort by the government that we can see, touch and learn from,” terrorism expert Noor Huda Ismail told AFP.
The latest government announcement comes after a spate of terror-related incidents, including last week’s explosion at a house suspected of being a bomb workshop in Depok, near Jakarta, in which three people were injured.
Earlier this month, a shootout in Solo in central Java left two terrorist suspects and an anti-terror officer dead.
An Indonesian terror suspect who surrendered himself Sunday had confessed to a suicide bomb plot against Buddhists in Jakarta to protest against Myanmar’s treatment of Muslim Rohingya.
Ansyaad Mbai, who heads the country’s National Anti-Terror Agency (BNPT) tasked to facilitate the latest initiative, said “the government is now in one voice in its commitment to fight terrorism.”
“It’s not enough to be reactive, taking action only after something happens. Ministries have a role to play to fight terrorism and radicalisation, laws must be strengthened, we cannot let terrorists win,” he added.
Mbai suggested the government could take steps such as shutting down websites which spread religious hate and providing rehabilitation to convicted terrorists released from jail.
He said recent incidents indicated that “terrorism is still alive although the old key players were dead or behind bars.”