The growth of social media and groups willingness to recruit more women is creating a jihadi community in the huge Muslim nation

Indonesia is being urged to tackle an increasing threat of would-be female terrorists who are being spurred on via social media to engage in extremist Islamist networks.

The growth of social media and a change of attitude by Islamic State leaders has led to women becoming more active in jihadist networks, according to a report by the south-east Asia-focused Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict (IPAC).

The report traces how womens roles have the moved beyond marriage, motherhood, and network building the traditional domains of the wives of Indonesian extremists to encompass an active military role.

Indonesia, the most populous Muslim country in the world, was urged to IPAC immediately investigate women involved in extremist networks, especially women deportees and migrant worker communities.

The need to know more about Indonesian extremist women suddenly has become urgent, note the authors.

Up until 2009 Indonesian women who wanted to cyber jihadists had to pretend to be men by using male names online.

But in a country known for its prolific social media usage, the internet has enabled Indonesian women to become more actively engaged in radical chat forums, reading Isis propaganda, international jihadi matchmaking as well as organising fundraising and logistical support.

The absence of any hierarchical structure on the internet meant that no one could tell women to stop propagating jihad, especially when they used their own accounts, outlines the report, If anything, men eventually realised that women played an indispensible role in the development of the jihadi virtual community.

These platforms have also seen Indonesian women express their desires to take up more active combat roles, such as by becoming suicide bombers.

In the wake of the November 2015 terror attacks in Paris, when some reports falsely claimed the atrocities had involved Europes first female suicide bomber, Indonesian wome admiration on pro-Isis forums.

Despite the incorrect reports, the idea of a female suicide bomber was enough to inspire some Indonesian women to admit that they wanted to commit to jihad.

Last December, Indonesian authorities arrested two women, Dian Yulia Novi and Ika Puspitasari, for volunteering for suicide missions.

Novi, 27, who was radicalised online while working in Taiwan, is suspected of planning an attack on the presidential palace. Puspitasari, who was part of the same network, was arrested for allegedly planning to carry out an attack on the tourist island of Bali.

Bahrum Naim, Indonesias leading proponent of Isis, provided both women with financial support and suggested that female suicide bombers carried an element of surprise. The Syrian-based Naim is believed to have helped engineer a terrorist attack in Jakarta last January that killed eight people.

The would-be women bombers were both domestic workers overseas, one of several subgroups of women the IPAC report identifies as those drawn to, or susceptible to, extremist ideologies.

Anis Hidayah, the executive director of Migrant Care, said migrant workers were targeted by drug traffickers and hardliners alike because they were vulnerable, potential victims of fundamentalism.

Its very open for Isis to approach these circles of migrant workers. Some in Hong Kong and Taiwan have already been exposed and we have indications that there are more than have been reported, she says.

The ability of these women to earn foreign currency has also led to male leadership to see them as sources of cash and donations.

More than 100 Indonesian women and children have crossed the Turkey/Syria border to join Isis since 2013 and many more have been deported.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/feb/04/indonesian-women-being-radicalised-into-would-be-suicide-bombers-report

Indonesian women being radicalised into would-be suicide bombers report
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