Counterterrorism, Civil Society Organisations and Peacebuilding: The Role of Non-State Actors in Deradicalisation in Bima, Indonesia

Greg Fealy, Muhammad Adlin Sila

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    Indonesia’s ongoing battle against terrorism has made deradicalisation programmes a major focus of the government. The National Counter-Terrorism Agency (BNPT) has primary responsibility for persuading terrorists to desist from, if not reject, violence as part of their Islamic struggle, but its ability to deal directly with terrorists and other radicalised communities is hampered by the depth of distrust and animosity that these communities feel towards the state and its security services. As a result, BNPT has partnered with Muslim civil society organisations (CSOs) in running anti-terrorism programmes for jihadists. Indonesia’s dominant Islamic organisations, Nahdlatul Ulama and Muhammadiyah, have been in the vanguard of state-CSO counter-terrorism cooperation. Eastern Indonesia has experienced persistent terrorist activity over the past two decades, including many fatal attacks on police. This article takes as a case study CSO initiatives in the West Nusa Tenggara city of Bima, with particular attention given to Ustadz Gunawan, a pivotal figure in local jihadist circles who, in 2019, renounced violence and became a proponent of peaceful jihad. This article examines the history of extremist jihadism in Bima and the counter-radicalisation efforts of CSOs and state institutions. We argue that three key factors—personal relations between jihadists and CSO leaders, family pressure and generous material incentives from state agencies—have created space for peace promotion in communities that previously condoned, if not supported, jihadist bellicosity.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)97-117
    JournalThe Asia Pacific Journal of Anthropology
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2022


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