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Why are so many Indonesian women participating in the bombing? | War Stories

Medan, Indonesia – Zakiah Aini, a 25-year-old university graduate, who went to the Indonesian police headquarters in Jakarta to fire a gun on the last day of March, was first reported, and may have thought the perpetrator was human.

But in recent years, an increasing number of Indonesian women have committed atrocities on the islands, in particular following the return of ISIL (ISIS) trained people to Syria and the formation of ISIL-affiliated groups such as Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD).

“ISIS has established a system of permits for women to occupy certain future responsibilities,” Judith Jacob, a crime and security detective at the London School of Economics, told Al Jazeera. “By promoting anti-violence and mobilizing people to do what they can, it opens up opportunities for women to participate more easily than they already do with organizations that promote women’s anti-violence organizations.”

In addition to the attack on Ain at the police headquarters, which resulted in his death by police at the site, Sacred Heart of Jesus Cathedral in Makassar, Sulawesi attacked before the week of Easter and two suicide bombers who had been married for only seven months.

In 2018, a church in Surabaya on the island of Java was also attacked by a couple and their four children, and a group of men and women attacked the cathedral of Jolo in the Philippines in 2019. At least 20 people were killed at the show and many were injured.

Indonesian police seize a bag containing the remains of a suspected bomber outside a church in Makassar on March 28, 2021 [Indra Abriyanto/]

All the women involved in the show think they are connected to JAD, which is sometimes known as “Southeast Asia ISIL”.

According to Jacob, it is important that we do not ignore such threats or simply assume that the women involved are simply following the orders of the men.

“Obviously there is a lot going on in this regard, but the first thing to get away with is the dangerous, immoral idea that these women are attracted or forced to take part,” she told Al Jazeera. “These women are very active and enthusiastic and have become an integral part of the Islamic militant movement in Indonesia. The difference now is the transition to a more or less progressive career.”

Follow-up attack on police headquarters, Chief Police Chief General List Sigit Prabowo described Aini as a “lone wolf”, although in a letter to his parents and siblings, he included a brief letter outraged by so-called “non-Muslim” organizations such as free elections, non-aligned organizations by Syariah and government officials, including former Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, known as Ahok, a former He was arrested for blasphemy in 2017.

He also posted an ISIL flag on Instagram shortly before his death and bought the weapon he used for his father in the Aceh district who was a member of JAD and was found to be a terrorist.

Noor Huda Ismail, a former member of the Darul Islamist movement who has since founded the Institute for International Peace Building and is running programs and negotiations in Indonesia, told Al Jazeera that the media has contributed to the violence against women.

“In the past in Indonesia, women have been very supportive and do not participate in terrorism even if they live in terrorist families,” she said.

“There is no single reason for women to engage in crime but mainly for privacy and emotional reasons.”

This could include things like revenge, redemption, or a relationship such as the prospect of finding a friend on a trip to Syria, he added.

“Psychological inequality does not play a role between men and women and affects men and women differently. We need to look at gender as a constructive and not biological. For example, the notion that men are violent and that women live in peace.”

But, he warns, learning about gender in strong groups is something that remains.

“More research is needed to identify the causes of violence against women. The state must work with government agencies and the private sector to carry out online and offline activities. ”

Even in the most restrictive groups, there seems to be some controversy over the status of women.

A sign of desperation?

A former JAD member, speaking to Al Jazeera on condition of anonymity, said he was part of the ISIL group as it seemed acceptable for a woman to take part in party threats as an enemy “the idea of ​​whether or not to take it often depends on a group preparing for such threats”.

The JAD group, which was part of “did not want to take part in the women’s war effort” while the JAD group in Surabaya also involved women as part of the 2018 church bombings “.

Police dog patrols patrol the area following threats that took place outside Surabaya Center Pentecostal Church in May 2018, in which at least nine people died. [File: Juni Kriswanto/AFP]

He adds that in addition to the public impact of these threats, women activists are also used as a media tool.

“The inclusion of women in the attack is allowed in the ISIS movement and is used for incitement,” she said. “The point is to spread the word that even women may try to make sacrifices, what about men?”

However, there may also be minor and practical reasons for what women do.

“We have seen a clear call for ISIS to engage women in violence against the enemy in 2017, which you can see is not very good in the ISIS elections, but their main focus was on the back and they need to strengthen all sections of the so-called caliphate to survive,” he said. Jacob.

Since the beginning of the year, the Indonesian terrorist terrorist group, Densus 88, has shot dead more people in Indonesia and arrested more than 100 people, including Munarman, the former secretary general of banning the strong Islamic Defenders Front (FPI), and three other FPI officials in April and May respectively.

Officials have also stepped up security on the islands since the March bombing in Makassar and the attack on Jakarta, believing that Aini had easily entered the National Police Headquarters because she was a woman.

“The call from ISIS came at a good time when it was open and security forces were slow to respond to the women’s ability to prepare for and cope with the risks,” Jacob said.

“Like in Indonesia, this message is available to people who have a network that has been damaged after the police have been hijacking them for years.”

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