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July 9, 2020, 11.23 PM

JAKARTA, – Social media have become a channel to recruit Indonesian children into radicalism and terrorist activities, according to Hasan, Assistant Deputy of Child Protection at Indonesia’s Ministry of Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection.

During a July 8 webinar on ‘Socialization to Prevent Children from Radical and Terrorist Acts’,  Hasan said online recruitment of Indonesian children is done via social media platforms, instant messaging apps, and websites.

Read also: No Letup in Terrorists Recruitment Drive in Indonesia amid Coronavirus Pandemic

The recruitment of Indonesian children is also carried out openly by way of sharing on social media.

While recruitment of children into radical and terrorist acts has been taken online due to the popularity of social media platforms, the conventional methods remain effective in luring new recruits from among Indonesian children.

Family members, friends, public figures, and religious institutions continue to be tapped as channels for recruitment.

The factors that drive Indonesian children into getting involved with radicalism and terrorist activities have also remained the same as before, said Hasan.

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“There are parents or other family members who teach radicalism and terrorist ideology to their children.” 

Another factor is the child’s environment - friends or neighbors who educate children on radicalism and terrorism.

Poverty is at the core of perpetuating radicalism and terrorist activities, Hasan added.

It goes beyond ideology, Hasan said, noting the cases of Indonesian children who are part of a terrorist network because they have been influenced, persuaded, and even given money.

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“Children are often given lifelong promises for a salary or material things in order to attract them into terrorist networks,” said Hasan.

Hasan said that children must be prevented from participating in radicalism or terrorist activities.

This is important given that radicalism and terrorism have a negative impact on a child’s development. The negative impact is mostly on their character, understanding of religion, principles of nationalism, and ideologies.

Read also: Indonesian VP Maruf Amin Wants Ulamas to Help Combat Covid-19

Data from the Ministry of Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection indicates that terrorism cases involving children as the suspect or victim have happened several times in Indonesia.

The Surabaya bombing incident on May 13-14, 2018 resulted in seven children ending in hospital intensive care units. Three of those involved were children of the terrorists.

Another three were apprehended for suspicion of terrorist involvement, and one child was involved with a bombing incident at the Surabaya Police Headquarters.

Another terrorism- and radicalism-related cases involving Indonesian children were the terrorist act in Sibolga, North Sumatra that led to the death of one child. 

(Writer: Irfan Kamil | Editor: Diamanty Meiliana) 


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