What motivates some Muslims to mobilise for “holy war” jihad far from their homes? How do their experiences of jihad influence the trajectory of their lives afterwards? Is there anything the government can do to discourage people from departing, and how can the risks posed by the fighters’ return be managed?
In this week’s Talking Indonesia podcast, I speak to Dr Muhamad Najib Azca about these issues, seeking lessons for the current mobilisation of several hundred Indonesian Muslims to Syria and Iraq. Dr Azca draws on his doctoral research on the life trajectories of jihadists who mobilised to inter-religious conflict areas in eastern Indonesia in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
Dr Muhamad Najib Azca is a vice dean in the Faculty of Social and Political Sciences at Gadjah Mada University, and visited the University of Melbourne in 2015 as part of the Faculty of Arts Indonesia Initiative.
A banner reads: “We, the residents of North Semarang, reject ISIS and terrorism.” Such banners have become a common sight in residential areas across Indonesia. Photo by Dave McRae.