Countering Violent Extremism in Indonesia: Bringing Back the Jihadists

Ian Chalmers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


While Indonesia’s efforts at countering violent extremism have enjoyed some successes, a section of its Islamist community remains committed to militant jihadism. The return from overseas of hundreds of militants linked to ISIS means that there is now a greater need than ever for interventions to prevent radicalisation – and for programs to reintegrate militants back into society. Drawing on 20 selected interviews with former jihadists, this article asks how successful official efforts have been at disengaging those convicted under Indonesia’s Anti-Terrorism Law from violent extremism. A significant minority remain welded to a militant mindset: “committed jihadists” who are likely to reoffend. Some former jihadists have “disengaged provisionally” but remain vulnerable: they have only disengaged for tactical or practical reasons. Yet some have also begun to disengage emotionally. While they may not disavow completely the use of force, these “provisionally deradicalised” activists have moved closer to that minority of interviewees who are “fully deradicalised”. Using this four-part typology of the pathways by which some militant jihadists have disengaged but others have not, this article finds that disengagement is a gradual process shaped by social networks. Consequently, it is suggested that a variety of methods be used to promote disengagement both before and after inmates leave prison.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)331-351
Number of pages21
JournalAsian Studies Review
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2017


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