Social media has been heavily criticized by a committee of British lawmakers on Monday (01/05) for failing to do enough to remove illegal and extremist material posted on their sites, and for not preventing it appearing in the first place. (Reuters Photo/Dado Ruvic)

Indonesian Women Urged to Unite Against Radicalism


APRIL 19, 2017

Jakarta. Fatayat NU, the women's branch of Indonesia's largest Muslim organization, Nahdlatul Ulama, has called on the nation's women to unite against radicalism.

Fatayat NU chairwoman Anggia Ermarini said those propagating radical ideologies not only target men and young people, but also women.

"The spread of radical and terrorist ideologies among women should receive more attention. It means that if we want Indonesia to be safe, women should also move, unite and work hard to fight these negative ideologies," Anggia said in Jakarta on Tuesday (18/04).

She listed several ways women can oppose radicalism and terrorism, including by teaching their children that Islam is a friendly religion and a blessing to others, while also instilling a greater sense of nationalism.

Anggia added that children will be immune to radical ideologies if they receive proper religious guidance from an early age.

"Therefore, Fatayat NU is developing family-based sermons. We also continue to empower our women preachers with knowledge of the threats posed by radicalism," she said.

"Coinciding with Kartini Day on April 21, Fatayat NU will inaugurate 1,000 antiradicalism preachers in Bandung [West Java]," she said, adding that the aim is to assist the government in preventing the spread of radicalism in Indonesia.

Anggia said several women have been implicated in acts of terror in recent times. One example is Dian Yulia Novi, who was arrested in an anti-terrorism raid in December for her alleged involvement in a plot to bomb the Presidential Palace in Central Jakarta.

Indonesian female migrant workers were also deported from Taiwan for ties with the Islamic State terrorist group.

"Therefore, Indonesian women should not stay silent. There are many things they can do to take active roles in preventing terrorism, such as educating the public about the threat of terrorism," she said.

Anggia said with thousands of grassroots members across Indonesia, Fatayat NU can make a positive contribution by detecting radicalism in the community.

"With the antiradicalism preachers, we will be able to easily prevent [the spread of radicalism]," she said.

She also urged Indonesian women to gain greater knowledge of technological advancements, because the internet is currently the main tool for spreading radical ideologies.

"Mothers should know social media, at least to observe their children with their gadgets," Anggi said.