Indonesia: fight against terror has consequences and failings

Counter-terrorism Terrorism Deradicalisation Indonesia

In May 2018, three high-profile terrorist attacks took place in Indonesia, including one led by a mother and her children in Surabaya. This drew a quick response from the Indonesian Government as, later that month, Parliament finally pushed through a revision of the country’s anti-terrorism legislation, which had been in the works for a number of years. Continuing its fight against radical groups, the government banned militant group Jemaah Ansharut Dualah in late-July. While the government is taking a number of steps to address the issue of terrorism, there remain significant challenges in the fight against radicalism.

Key points:

  • Slow judicial processes are impeding the efforts of the Indonesian Government to ban radical Islamist groups that present a terrorist threat.
  • The government appears to have become more reactive in its approach to counterterrorism.
  • The latest move to introduce a new addition to the counter-terrorism squad serves little purpose. A better approach would be to strengthen existing mechanisms.
  • The imprisonment of convicted terrorists is not achieving the desired outcome of closing down terrorist networks.
  • It may now be time to rethink the approaches taken to de-radicalisation and the countering of radical ideals.
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