News Focus - Empowering women for assisting Indonesia`s war on terrorism

News Focus - Empowering women for assisting Indonesia`s war on terrorism

President Joko Widodo (third from right) dan Kowani's chairperson Giwo Rubianto Wiyogo (third from left) posed for a picture with the delegations of the National Gathering of One Thousand Indonesian Women`s Organizations and the 35th International Council of Women General Assembly in Yogyakarta, Friday (14/9/2018). (ANTARA FOTO/Hendra Nurdiyansyah).

Yogyakarta (ANTARA News) - The spread of radicalism and terrorism still threaten Indonesia, and the empowerment of women is believed to be part of important elements for resolving the serious threats due to the women`s strategic roles.

It is Yenny Wahid, director of the Wahid Institute, who raised the importance of empowering women in the war on terrorism when speaking at the second session of the National Gathering of One Thousand Indonesian Women`s Organizations being held along with the convening of the 35th International Council of Women General Assembly in Yogyakarta.

The daughter of late former president Abdurrahman Wahid argued that many women have got trapped in a vicious circle of radicalism and terrorism. Several of them have even been recruited as terrorists.

Over the past few years, the involvements of women in the acts of terrorism have no longer been a global phenomenon that can only be found in certain parts of the world, like in Nigeria due to the existence of Boko Haram.

The acts of terrorism that the Nigeria-based terror group look notorious due to the fact, as revealed by CNN, that majority of Boko Haram`s suicide bombers are women and children (Robyn Kriel, 2017).

The involvements of women and children in the acts of terrorism are now evident and become a serious threat to Indonesia. This evidence can be seen from a deadly attack on a church in the East Java city of Surabaya last May.

In the bombing attack, the executor was a woman but she also engaged her two children. The three of them blew up themselves on the yard of their targeted church.

"How do we feel when seeing a mother have no heart to blow up herself and her two children. In contrary, if our kids happen to get slipped, we are so sad and cry. But, the mother did it because her husband wanted them all to go to heaven."

"If she was strong, she would definitely be able to reject a doctrine that she would only go to paradise through her husband or her father," Yenny Wahid said.

The Indonesian women should be empowered to enable them to refuse such this misleading doctrine because each of men and women must be responsible for whatever they have done themlselves.

"The main task of a parent is educating his or her children but if they have grown up and become adults, all sins that they do are not the responsibility of their parent but theirs. What a pity if a parent of corruptors, criminals, and other bad people should be responsible for the sins of her or his children," she said.

Therefore, like a wise word says "educating a woman is similar to educating a nation", the women`s emporwerement is definitively indispensable in the Indonesian Government`s deradicalization program.

A well-educated and open-minded woman with strong character will be able to save her kids from being radicalized in this digital era. The young Indonesians are vulnerable to radicalization as shown by research outcomes.

Setara Institute for Democracy and Peace`s recent survey on the perception of senior high school students in Jakarta and Bandung on tolerance, for instance, has supported this fact.

The survey involving 684 students from 114 senior high schools that Setara Institute conducted from 9 to 19 March 2015 revealed that 49 respondents agreed with ISIS Movement.

"From 516 respondents who know what ISIS is, 49 agree with the ISIS movement. In other word, at least one out of 14 students agree with ISIS," the survey report revealed.

The outcome of this survey has raised concerns on growing support for ISIS from young Indonesians amid the fact that a number of Indonesians have joined the ISIS battles in Iraq and Syria.

The ISIS supporters in Indonesia had even launched a suicide bombing and shooting attack in Jakarta on January 14, 2016, which led to the death of eight people, including three innocent civilians.

The incident has added to the list of deadly assaults carried out by terrorist cells in Indonesia. From 2000 to 2012, more than a dozen attacks took place in the capital city, including the Australian embassy bombing on September 9, 2004, and the JW Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotel bombings on July 17, 2009.

However, both the government and the people of Indonesia, who love peace and harmony, have never surrendered to the perpetrators and bowed to their unjustified demands.

One of the best ways to free Indonesia from the vicious circle of radicalism and terrorism is empowering women in the country because they can actively contribute to the rescue of Indonesian children from being misled by terrorist recruiters.

Editing by Bambang Purwanto