Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Preventing Violent Extremism; Indonesian Experiences

On Wednesday the 29th July, 2020 the IofC Indonesia team was invited to be part of IofC Hub and the theme was Youth Resilience in Preventing Violent Extremism. The program of Trustbuilding and the School of Reconciliation has engaged people from all walks of life to find inner love and peace.   

Illustration from : https://impakter.com/women-violent-extremism/

Indonesia has struggled with violent extremism for years. The rise of ISIS in 2014 made the struggle even harder because of its influence in Indonesia. There has been a threat toward human life, humanity and also Indonesia’s unity. Efforts have been made to counteract this violent extremism from the root causes all the way to the recovery process.

The roots of violent extremism might vary across the country but, from the discussion, we learned that it arises because of the lack of tolerance and toxic masculinity. Both are related to the daily parenting pattern at home where a child was raised. A lack of tolerance usually is built by prejudices, poor critical thinking, fanatism, and lack of empathy. By having these, people often hesitate to engage with another group of people different to them. They start to build in-group exclusivism and exclude other people. By seeing themselves as an ideal kind of group, they have an excuse to damage other groups.

In addition, we learned that most people join violent extremism not merely because of the ideology but also because of the anger inside oneself due to a fatherless situation they had in their childhood. A father figure plays an important role in creating a child’s masculinity.  If the father wasn’t there or wasn’t able to mirror the emotion of the children, the children grow up as a people full of anger. Anger toward themselves and parents are then projected toward other groups.

Focusing on these two drivers, we can help to equip young people of Indonesia and help them resist the negative impact of violent extremism. By helping them listen to their inner voice, have a positive support system, and sharing together, we can hand in hand prevent violent extremism. There are three main ways how IOFC Indonesia struggles to prevent violent extremism from the roots.

Familly Reconciliation. The School of Reconciliation has focused on how to understand how one’s family could prevent someone from accepting violent extremism. When people learn that their behaviours, way of thinking, and decisions made in the present are connected to their original family, the way they were raised, and the roles of parents, they have a chance to reconcile and choose to live the life they want without being controlled by anger or unfinished feelings or trauma. This helps people to broaden their perspective toward life and others. In turn, it will help people to investigate their motives and behaviours toward violent extremism.

Gamification and the Search for Identity. Peace Generation (PeaceGen) has focused on how to build protective factors with the youth generation through games. As they enter the phase of searching for identity, violent extremism easily infiltrates them with the ideology. PeaceGen counteract this by introducing games that will help them to find their true identity, and also to build the skills to evaluate any information they get and how to face uncertain things. Through games, the youth also learn how to master self-management, relationship management, and leadership skills. By having these skills, young people develop critical thinking and empathy which are very important in preventing violent extremism.

Creating a trusting society. Trustbuilding Indonesia has focused on counteracting the seeds of intolerance. By creating a healthy forum as a medium for two groups of people to meet and discuss, they help to erase the prejudices and fanaticism. By building trust in each group, they create a foundation for local communities to know each other and create a peaceful atmosphere. These groups then spread tolerance in the family, neighborhood, and in public.

Finally, the path of Indonesia toward violent extremism can be unraveled by understanding and applying Pancasila, the foundational philosophical theory of Indonesia. We need to build our programs and strategies based on this foundation that will unite Indonesia. Pancasila serves as an answer and at the same time as a challenge to creatively use it to prevent violent extremism.

Rinni Meir & Miftahul Huda