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Indonesia's women radicals keep extremist networks going-analyst

Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation - Tue, 12 Feb 2013 09:22 GMT
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(Upeates to clarify description of extremists in paragraphs 1,3)

BANGKOK (TrustLaw) – Some Muslim women in Indonesia are shedding their traditional background role by promoting pro-radical views online and even offering shelter to families of jailed extremists, Singapore-based paper the Straits Times reports.

One woman writing under the pseudonym Ummu Fauzi interviewed the wives of men convicted of terrorist acts and posted them on extremist websites “to highlight the ‘bravery’ of these wives,” said the report.

Noor Huda Ismail, a terrorism analyst and founder of the Institute for International Peace Building (YPP), said authorities often forget about the wives because they are too caught up looking for leaders of extremist networks.

“(The women) are the dot-connectors who play a crucial role to keep the networks going,” he was quoted as saying.

Ismail also told TrustLaw in an interview in 2011 that corruption in Indonesian jails stokes extremism and could lead to the emergence of new radicalist cells.

Since the 2002 bombings in the popular tourist island of Bali, Indonesia has arrested more than 800 people on extremism charges, and there have been no major attacks for almost four years.

Concerns remain, however, that terror cells may be regrouping.

According to the Straits Times, Ummu Fauzi has interviewed Madam Nusaibah, the wife of Abdullah Sonata, who was jailed for 10 years for planning mass attacks; and Madam Osama, the wife of Sheikh Omar Bakri, leader of a banned radical group in Britain with ties to al-Qaeda.

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