Indonesian prosecutors on Friday demanded death for radical Islamic cleric Aman Abdurrahman.

JAKARTA (TheInsiderStories) – Indonesian prosecutors asked on Friday (18/5) the panel of judges at the South Jakarta public court to hand down a death penalty for Aman Abdurrahman, the alleged spiritual leader of Jamaah Ansharud Daulah (JAD), the nation’s largest pro-IS terrorist group.

Abdurrahman, who police and prosecutors say is a key ideologue for Islamic State militants in the world’s largest Muslim nation, sat impassively as the prosecutors announced the sentencing demand before a panel of five judges.

He is accused of plotting the Thamrin attack from his prison cell with Iwan “Rois” Darmawan, who was a coordinator of the 2004 bombing of the Australian Embassy in Jakarta. Nine people died in that attack.

Abdurrahman has been charged with planning and mobilizing others to do terrorism and conspiracy to cause mass casualties. Authorities say Abdurrahman pledged allegiance to IS in 2014, and called for his followers to move to Syria.

The trial came after the country was shaken by series of suicide bombings on Sunday and Monday in Surabaya and Sidoarjo which killed 26 people, including 13 attackers. Two families carried out the attacks, by also employing their children as young as 7.

Counter Terrorism

The death sentence is showing Indonesia needs breakthrough effort to prevent terrorism not only from security officials.

The terrorist’s case is the tip of an iceberg highlighting the loopholes in the weak Indonesia legal system that had resulted in terror attacks that could have been avoided, such as in Abdurrahman’s case as he can still direct terror attacks while he was in jail.

In response, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has reiterated the government’s commitment to exterminate terrorism down to its roots.

We must appreciate Jokowi’s statement. However, terrorism is a complex issue because there is no single factor that can explain why a person becomes a terrorist.

One of the strategies that the government can use to stop terrorism in Indonesia is to take preventive steps using educational institutions to promote tolerance, which can eventually stop the spread of radical thoughts.

But what is happening in Indonesia is the opposite. Many schools in Indonesia have become fertile ground for radicalism.

The latest surveys from the Wahid Institute, Pusat Pengkajian Islam Masyarakat and the Centre for Study of Islam and Society (PPIM) and Setara Institute have indicated the spread of intolerance and radical values in educational institutions in Indonesia.

A student tolerance survey from Setara Institute in 2016 revealed that 35.7 per cent of the students showed a tendency to intolerance in their minds, 2.4 per cent were involved in acts of intolerance, and 0.3 per cent had the potential to become terrorists. The survey was based on 760 respondents who enrolled in public high schools in Jakarta and Bandung, West Java.

Surveys from the Wahid Institute and PPIM have shown the same worrying trend.

Therefore, we believe that the recent terrorist attacks should give momentum to the government to plan preventive measures to promote diversity, social integrity and diverse identities in various schools across the country.

The government’s campaign on tolerance should reach different educational institutions via the Culture and Education Ministry as well as Religious Affairs Ministry.

The government must also provide platforms and programs to promote tolerance. Apart from that, related government institutions in the regions must develop the capacity to identify schools that are prone to radicalism and apply persuasive approaches to prevent the spread of radicalism in those schools.

Email: elisa.valenta@theinsiderstories.com

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