Ex-con opens school for terrorists’ kids

BINTANGNEWS.com – When a terrorist is convicted and serves his time or is killed in action, what happens to his wife and children?
This simple question represents one of the deradicalization challenges that the government is facing as it cannot turn a blind eye to the family members who might have been exposed to radical values.
Khairul Ghazali, a former terrorist who had been involved in the robbery of a Bank CIMB Niaga in Medan, North Sumatra, has set up a pesantren (Islamic boarding school) to gather the children of the militant group members and educate them.
His school, Darusy Syifa, has been recently appointed as a model for such schools that have become part of the deradicalization programs of the National Counterterrorism Agency (BNPT).
Khairul said he never imagined beforehand that the pesantren he named Darusy Syifa would attract the BNPT, especially because when establishing it he was just moved by his concern over the fate of the displaced children of former terrorists whose parents were imprisoned.
“When the terrorists were arrested, their kids and wives were not heeded. This was what moved me to build the pesantren to educate terrorists’ children as the state tends to ignore their education,” Khairul told The Jakarta Post on Friday.
He said the pesantren was an education facility specially designed to prevent radicalism from developing, while at the same time offering education to the children of terrorist inmates.
He said unless these children were well educated, it was feared they would follow in their parents’ steps and become terrorists.
Khairul said up to now, 20 children of former terrorists had studied at hispesantren, apart from 12 others who came from poor families.
The 20 were the children of terrorists involved in an attack on the Hamparan Perak police office in Deli Serdang, the Medan CIMB Bank robbery and training in a terrorist camp in Jantho Aceh.
He said some of the terrorists were still imprisoned. Some others had been released, including Jumirin alias Sobirin, who was now working as a fisherman in Tanjungbalai.
Khairul said he knows all of the parents of the terrorists’ children. He said not many were still active in radical activities.
“I don’t know where they are now because our communications have been cut off,” he said, adding that most of those who were still active terrorists hailed from Medan and Aceh.
He said the Darusy Syifa pesantren was equivalent to a junior high school level. All students studying there were exempted from school fees. Thepesantren paid for everything, including their food and accommodations, as well as for the honoraria of five teachers.
“I pay it all; no outside aid has been coming,” said Khairul, adding that the operational costs he had to pay were between Rp 10 million and Rp 12 million a month.
He said he used the money he earned from fish ponds and vegetable plantations he ran in the vicinity of the pesantren, as well as from the royalties of the books he wrote.
“I spent Rp 150 million to build this pesantren,” Khairul said.
The Darusy Syifa Islamic boarding school is located in the Sei Mencirim subdistrict, Deli Serdang, North Sumatra, on 30 hectares of land belonging to PT Perkebunan Nusantara II. It was officially opened by the North Sumatra governor on June 11.
AZA, 13, one of the students, said he was happy to study at the pesantren,although he had only been there for a month on the recommendation of her father Jumirin alias Sobirin, who has just been released from a prison on Nusakambangan Island, Cilacap, Central Java, in August.
“My father took me to this pesantren,” AZA said.
BNPT head Comr. Gen. Suhardi Alius said he hoped that the community would not ostracize the children of former terrorists, but instead embrace them and give them an understanding about the dangers of radicalism.
“[The school] is a role model that we will copy in other places. There are some potential radical enclaves where it will be our priority to build the samepesantren,” said Suhardi during the groundbreaking ceremony of the development of a mosque at Darusy Syifa.
Southeast Sulawesi Police chief Brig. Gen. Rudy Sufahriadi, who was also present at the groundbreaking ceremony, said that he planned to build the same kind of pesantren in Poso for his deradicalization program in the region.
“This is a form of terrorist handling in the field of education,” Rudy said.***
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Editing: T. Bintang
source: Thejakartapost

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