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The Wahid Foundation shares their Research Experience at a Southeast Asian CSO Forum

‘Failure to appreciate these two phenomena will lead to a failure in dealing with them’

Bangkok- Thailand. For some, the rise of the 212 Movement is a sign of an increasingly serious threat from radical movements. In 2016, this movement took shape during a demonstration at the National Monument in Jakarta, which involved millions of people. Anti-Chinese chants, as well as death threats against Basuki Tjahaja Purnama (the former governor of Jakarta), better known as Ahok, manifested themselves during this demonstration. This demonstration was held again at the beginning of December, with numbers even greater than before.

‘However, it is too simple to conclude that serious threats come from radical groups alone. They come from a variety of different groups. Not only are there members and supporters of FPI (Islamic Defenders Front) or HTI (Hizb ut-Tahrir Indonesia), but also people from conservative circles in NU (Nahdlatul Ulama) and Muhammadiyah. Another part are sympathizers of certain political parties,‘ revealed Alamsyah M. Dja’far, Tuesday (11/12) at the Chatrium Hotel, Bangkok, Thailand.

This statement was given by the Program Manager of the Wahid Foundation at the Capacity Building Workshop that was held by the South East Asia Network to Counter Violent Extremism (SEAN-CSO) from Tuesday 11th until Thursday 13th December, where 30 participants attended, representing civil society organizations from nations from across Southeast Asia.

Because of this threat, says Alamsyah, efforts to identify differences, diversity and the relationship between radicalism and intolerance are important steps that need to be taken. ‘Failure to appreciate these two phenomena will lead to a failure in dealing with them’, he adds.

In his presentation, Alamsyah shares from his experience of how he formulated these two concepts and their use in a National Survey commissioned by a partnership between the Wahid Foundation, the Indonesian Survey Institute and UN Women in 2017. ‘A simple way to see the difference between intolerance and radicalism is in the use of physical violence. Intolerance generally does not use physical violence,’ he explains.

Despite this, adds Alam, formulating indicators of radicalism is still not that simple. One of the obstacles is that radicalism is not only associated with physical violence, but also in support for violent actions among those who have not yet done them. Because of this, WF’s survey uses indicators that are not only associated with the use of violence, but also with a support and desire to be involved with actions and movements that use violence.

This workshop had the objective to increase the capacity of the SEAN-CSO network about both the reasoning for the program and also in evaluating programs eradicating violent extremism. SEAN-CSO was formed in 2016, facilitated by the Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalization, a study center of Deakin University, Australia. The selection of representatives of civil society organizations that came to the event were from Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand (Alamsyah M Dja’far/Andre Wollgar)