Indonesia launched a de-radicalisation programme after the Bali bombings in 2002, above, which killed 202 people, most of whom were tourists.
Indonesia launched a de-radicalisation programme after the Bali bombings in 2002, above, which killed 202 people, most of whom were tourists.

Indonesia tries rehabilitation to wipe out extremism

JAKARTA // Imagine, for a moment, a possible headline in the future: "Osama bin Laden denounces terrorism and renounces jihad." What are the odds? Is it even possible to wean an extremist like bin Laden off his violent ideology? The likelihood is hard to envisage.

But the Obama administration is keen to attempt something very close to that. This week, it agreed to give US$11 million (Dh40m) to Yemen to build a militant rehabilitation centre in the Arab state within the next three months for released Guantanamo Bay detainees. The centre would treat terrorists in much the same way as drug addicts: seeing Islamic radicalism as an anomalous behavioural pattern and treating it with a mix of psychotherapy, counselling and religious re-education, coupled with economic incentives to slowly steer them back into society.

This move, analysts say, underscores the realisation that punitive detention or torture in a dank prison does not necessarily reform extremists. Some militants continue to espouse a virulent hatred for the West even after serving time in prison. Killing them can be counterproductive - many of them seek martyrdom. The future of fighting extremism around the world may lie in terrorism rehabilitation.

"At best, the use of force only temporarily cripples the terrorists' capabilities," said Rohan Gunaratna, a professor of security studies at the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. "With the ideology intact, capabilities will be replenished and dangerously reinvented. Hence, the only way to stem the current global wave of terrorism is to effectively dismantle the terrorists' ideological beliefs."

About 100,000 suspected Islamic terrorists are currently in custody around the world, in large parts in the Middle East, and Central and South East Asia. In recent years, many countries like Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iraq, Algeria, Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia have launched their own de-radicalisation programmes. But to what degree is this soft approach of mollycoddling militants successful? In Indonesia, for example, the world's most populous Muslim-majority nation, and known for its more moderate brand of Islam, a South East Asian militant network called Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), believed to be an offshoot of al Qa'eda, has been responsible for string of bombings since 2002, most recently in July.

In the past seven years, Indonesia has captured or killed around 300 suspected members of JI, which grew out of religious schools in Java in the 1990s. The archipelago's national police launched a de-radicalisation programme after its first bout of international terrorism - the Bali bombings in 2002 which claimed 202 lives. The programme primarily uses former militants, not clerics, to quell jihadi rage. The inmates are treated with kindness instead of brutality. For some, conjugal visits in prison are permitted.

Upon release, they receive economic assistance for their needs such as starting a new business or paying for their children's education. As a measure of success, at least two dozen former members of JI have agreed to co-operate with the government. But despite this, rehabilitation counsellors say it is almost impossible to alter the mindset and entirely expunge the spirit of jihad. "Bombing Bali was the right thing to do," said Farihin Ibnu Ahmad, hunching over a bowl of chips in a restaurant in downtown Jakarta. "It was necessary to cleanse the place of immoral, lewd foreigners bringing their sins to our country. They spread Aids in our country. Our jihad was against them, the infidels."

Mr Ahmad, 43, a former member of JI, uttered these words with numb insouciance. He received weapons training in Pakistan and Afghanistan and spent a year in prison for leading a raid on a Christian village in central Sulawesi in 2000. But for a man who underwent rehabilitation in prison, he shows little remorse for his crime. Although he insisted that he no longer condones violence against civilians, he admitted that several former JI members, including himself, are eager to go to Afghanistan to fight US forces alongside his "Muslim brothers".

And while he was thankful for the government's financial support to help him start a plastic recycling business after prison, he had only derision for some counsellors in the rehabilitation process who tried to make inmates feel "they are right and we are wrong". "The inmates don't think they are radical," said Sarlito Wirawan Sarwono, a professor of psychology from the University of Persada Indonesia, who began working as a counsellor with the de-radicalisation programme in 2005. "It is difficult to change their minds."

At the heart of the tension is the thought that all violence is linked to Islam. Through his counselling sessions, group discussions and one-on-one interactions, Prof Sarwono attacks the attitudes of inmates toward numerous Islamic notions, including jihad (struggle), takfir (blasphemy) and shahada (martyrdom), encouraging them to embrace a different, non-violent meaning. But many of those in the programme are resistant to change and increasingly testy.

In group interactions, Prof Sarwono said the top leaders dominate the debate, justifying violence for jihad, while the junior members nod along, choosing to remain silent out of both reverence and fear. "They won't budge an inch," he said, "but when you approach them individually, one-on-one, face-to-face, they are much softer." Prof Sarwono cited the example of Abu Dujana, 42, the military leader of JI from 2005 until June 2007, who played key roles in several terrorist bombings in South East Asia. In the group, he was staunchly in favour of jihad, but privately, expressed self doubt over notions of violence.

"'Why are we trying to fight the West? It's not like the Americans are invading Java,"Prof Sarwono recalled Abu Dujana saying to him. Even if such rehabilitation programmes succeed, there is the worry of recidivism. The most striking example is Said Ali al Shihri, who after spending six years at Guantanamo Bay and passing through a Saudi rehabilitation programme for religious extremists, emerged as the deputy leader of al Qa'eda's Yemeni branch. He claims to have masterminded the failed plot to blow up a Northwest Airlines flight to Detroit on Christmas Day.

In Indonesia, too, there have been cases of "reformed" militants who are recruited back into the folds of JI. Some while undergoing rehabilitation have even indoctrinated prison guards, recruited from inside prison and directed extremist rhetoric through internet chat rooms accessed on smuggled laptops. It takes just a handful of recidivists to wipe out any gains made in the rehabilitation programme, said Noor Huda Ismail, the executive director of Indonesia's Institute for International Peace Building.

Last year, as many of JI's leaders were jailed, and with no attacks for four years, it was widely believed the group had lost its edge. But then Mr Ismail started hearing uncomfortable whispers in internet chat rooms. Just days later, on July 17, Jakarta's JW Marriot and Ritz-Carlton were hit by two separate bombs, both five minutes apart, killing seven people. The bombing had all the hallmarks of a JI-style attack.

Mr Ismail, as a teenager, went to the same school as some of Indonesia's most high-profile terrorists - the Al Mukmin Islamic boarding school in Central Java - described by some analysts as a "militant Ivy League" - and was roommates with Fadlullah Hassan, one of the Bali bombers convicted in the first terrorist attack in 2002. Surprised to find his friend as a terrorist, Mr Ismail became interested in meeting with militants and trying to understand what led them towards violence.

"I tell them, 'I am not trying to discourage you from doing jihad,'" he said. "But I try and alter the way they interpret jihad." He also regularly counsels militants in prison. He shows them a photograph on his BlackBerry of a veiled Muslim woman and her baby. The woman's husband was killed in the 2002 Bali bombings. "'See, you are killing Muslims too,' I show them the picture and tell them, 'Of what use is such a jihad? Islam is not so myopic.'"

Not all JI prisoners - whom he prefers to call high-risk prisoners instead of terrorists - are responsive. "Some view me as a tentacle of the West," he said. "But they understand that I won't harm them. "We are racing against time," he said. "We must engage in active reconciliation and rehabilitation to end terrorism." Ken Ward, an analyst who has closely monitored terrorist networks in South East Asia, said rehabilitation would not work until schools that preach violent jihad were shut down or their teachings curtailed.

"It's almost as though the Indonesians are willing to allow people to acquire radical Islamic beliefs and then later try to de-radicalise them, rather than try to de-radicalise the education system."

Brahmastra: Part One - Shiva

Director: Ayan Mukerji

Stars: Ranbir Kapoor, Alia Bhatt and Amitabh Bachchan

Rating: 2/5


Estijaba – 8001717 –  number to call to request coronavirus testing

Ministry of Health and Prevention – 80011111

Dubai Health Authority – 800342 – The number to book a free video or voice consultation with a doctor or connect to a local health centre

Emirates airline – 600555555

Etihad Airways – 600555666

Ambulance – 998

Knowledge and Human Development Authority – 8005432 ext. 4 for Covid-19 queries

Sri Lanka-India Test series schedule
  • 1st Test India won by 304 runs at Galle
  • 2nd Test India won by innings and 53 runs at Colombo
  • 3rd Test August 12-16 at Pallekele
Confirmed bouts (more to be added)

Cory Sandhagen v Umar Nurmagomedov
Nick Diaz v Vicente Luque
Michael Chiesa v Tony Ferguson
Deiveson Figueiredo v Marlon Vera
Mackenzie Dern v Loopy Godinez

Tickets for the August 3 Fight Night, held in partnership with the Department of Culture and Tourism Abu Dhabi, went on sale earlier this month, through and


Name: SmartCrowd
Started: 2018
Founder: Siddiq Farid and Musfique Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech / PropTech
Initial investment: $650,000
Current number of staff: 35
Investment stage: Series A
Investors: Various institutional investors and notable angel investors (500 MENA, Shurooq, Mada, Seedstar, Tricap)

The five pillars of Islam

Creator: Tima Shomali

Starring: Tara Abboud, Kira Yaghnam, Tara Atalla

Rating: 4/5


Director: Bradley Cooper

Starring: Bradley Cooper, Carey Mulligan, Maya Hawke

Rating: 3/5

The five pillars of Islam

1. Fasting

2. Prayer

3. Hajj

4. Shahada

5. Zakat

You Were Never Really Here

Director: Lynne Ramsay

Starring: Joaquim Phoenix, Ekaterina Samsonov

Four stars


Featherweight Bout: Abdullah Al Qahtani v Taha Bendaoud
Bantamweight Bout: Ali Taleb v Nawras Abzakh
Bantamweight Bout: Xavier Alaoui v Rachid El Hazoume
Featherweight Bout: Islam Reda v Adam Meskini
Bantamweight Bout: Tariq Ismail v Jalal Al Daaja
Bantamweight Bout: Elias Boudegzdame v Hassan Mandour
Amateur Female Atomweight Bout: Hattan Al Saif v Nada Faheem
Featherweight Bout: Maraoune Bellagouit v Motaz Askar
Featherweight Bout: Ahmed Tarek v Abdelrahman Alhyasat
Showcase Featherweight Bout: Mido Mohamed v Yazeed Hasanain
Showcase Flyweight Bout: Malik Basahel v Harsh Pandya

Ultra processed foods

- Carbonated drinks, sweet or savoury packaged snacks, confectionery, mass-produced packaged breads and buns 

- margarines and spreads; cookies, biscuits, pastries, cakes, and cake mixes, breakfast cereals, cereal and energy bars;

- energy drinks, milk drinks, fruit yoghurts and fruit drinks, cocoa drinks, meat and chicken extracts and instant sauces

- infant formulas and follow-on milks, health and slimming products such as powdered or fortified meal and dish substitutes,

- many ready-to-heat products including pre-prepared pies and pasta and pizza dishes, poultry and fish nuggets and sticks, sausages, burgers, hot dogs, and other reconstituted meat products, powdered and packaged instant soups, noodles and desserts.

Why your domicile status is important

Your UK residence status is assessed using the statutory residence test. While your residence status – ie where you live - is assessed every year, your domicile status is assessed over your lifetime.

Your domicile of origin generally comes from your parents and if your parents were not married, then it is decided by your father. Your domicile is generally the country your father considered his permanent home when you were born. 

UK residents who have their permanent home ("domicile") outside the UK may not have to pay UK tax on foreign income. For example, they do not pay tax on foreign income or gains if they are less than £2,000 in the tax year and do not transfer that gain to a UK bank account.

A UK-domiciled person, however, is liable for UK tax on their worldwide income and gains when they are resident in the UK.

Our Time Has Come
Alyssa Ayres, Oxford University Press

Dengue fever symptoms

High fever (40°C/104°F)
Severe headache
Pain behind the eyes
Muscle and joint pains
Swollen glands


Round 1: Beat Leolia Jeanjean 6-1, 6-2
Round 2: Beat Naomi Osaka 7-6, 1-6, 7-5
Round 3: Beat Marie Bouzkova 6-4, 6-2
Round 4: Beat Anastasia Potapova 6-0, 6-0
Quarter-final: Beat Marketa Vondrousova 6-0, 6-2
Semi-final: Beat Coco Gauff 6-2, 6-4
Final: Beat Jasmine Paolini 6-2, 6-2


Display: 6.1" Super Retina XDR OLED, 2532 x 1170, 460ppi, HDR, True Tone, P3, 1200 nits

Processor: A15 Bionic, 6-core CPU, 5-core GPU, 16-core Neural Engine 

Memory: 6GB

Capacity: 128/256/512GB

Platform: iOS 16

Main camera: Dual 12MP main (f/1.5) + 12MP ultra-wide (f/2.4); 2x optical, 5x digital; Photonic Engine, Deep Fusion, Smart HDR 4, Portrait Lighting

Main camera video: 4K @ 24/25/3060fps, full-HD @ 25/30/60fps, HD @ 30fps; HD slo-mo @ 120/240fps; night, time lapse, cinematic, action modes; Dolby Vision, 4K HDR

Front camera: 12MP TrueDepth (f/1.9), Photonic Engine, Deep Fusion, Smart HDR 4; Animoji, Memoji; Portrait Lighting

Front camera video: 4K @ 24/25/3060fps, full-HD @ 25/30/60fps, HD slo-mo @ 120fps; night, time lapse, cinematic, action modes; Dolby Vision, 4K HDR

Battery: 3279 mAh, up to 20h video, 16h streaming video, 80h audio; fast charge to 50% in 30m; MagSafe, Qi wireless charging

Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.3, NFC (Apple Pay)

Biometrics: Face ID

I/O: Lightning

Cards: Dual eSIM / eSIM + SIM (US models use eSIMs only)

Colours: Blue, midnight, purple, starlight, Product Red

In the box: iPhone 14, USB-C-to-Lightning cable, one Apple sticker

Price: Dh3,399 / Dh3,799 / Dh4,649

Company profile


Started:+January 2021 

Founders:+Sanad Yaghi, Ali Al Sayegh and Shadi Joulani 


Number of employees:+140 

Sector:+B2B Vertical SaaS(software as a service) 

Investment:+$5.2 million 

Funding stage:+Seed round 

Investors:+Global Founders Capital, Colle Capital Partners, Wamda Capital, Plug and Play, Comma Capital, Nowais Capital, Annex Investments and AMK Investment Office  

UAE currency: the story behind the money in your pockets

Director: Nikhil Nagesh Bhat

Starring: Lakshya, Tanya Maniktala, Ashish Vidyarthi, Harsh Chhaya, Raghav Juyal

Rating: 4.5/5

What is a black hole?

1. Black holes are objects whose gravity is so strong not even light can escape their pull

2. They can be created when massive stars collapse under their own weight

3. Large black holes can also be formed when smaller ones collide and merge

4. The biggest black holes lurk at the centre of many galaxies, including our own

5. Astronomers believe that when the universe was very young, black holes affected how galaxies formed

The burning issue

The internal combustion engine is facing a watershed moment – major manufacturer Volvo is to stop producing petroleum-powered vehicles by 2021 and countries in Europe, including the UK, have vowed to ban their sale before 2040. The National takes a look at the story of one of the most successful technologies of the last 100 years and how it has impacted life in the UAE. 

Read part four: an affection for classic cars lives on

Read part three: the age of the electric vehicle begins

Read part two: how climate change drove the race for an alternative 

Cricket World Cup League Two

Oman, UAE, Namibia

Al Amerat, Muscat



Oman beat UAE by five wickets

UAE beat Namibia by eight runs



Wednesday January 8 –Oman v Namibia

Thursday January 9 – Oman v UAE

Saturday January 11 – UAE v Namibia

Sunday January 12 – Oman v Namibia

Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff
By Sean Penn
Simon & Schuster

if you go

The flights Fly Dubai, Air Arabia, Emirates, Etihad, and Royal Jordanian all offer direct, three-and-a-half-hour flights from the UAE to the Jordanian capital Amman. Alternatively, from June Fly Dubai will offer a new direct service from Dubai to Aqaba in the south of the country. See the airlines’ respective sites for varying prices or search on reliable price-comparison site Skyscanner.

The trip 

Jamie Lafferty was a guest of the Jordan Tourist Board. For more information on adventure tourism in Jordan see Visit Jordan. A number of new and established tour companies offer the chance to go caving, rock-climbing, canyoning, and mountaineering in Jordan. Prices vary depending on how many activities you want to do and how many days you plan to stay in the country. Among the leaders are Terhaal, who offer a two-day canyoning trip from Dh845 per person. If you really want to push your limits, contact the Stronger Team. For a more trek-focused trip, KE Adventure offers an eight-day trip from Dh5,300 per person.


Company name: OneOrder
Started: March 2022
Founders: Tamer Amer and Karim Maurice
Based: Cairo
Number of staff: 82
Investment stage: Series A


Company name: Almouneer
Started: 2017
Founders: Dr Noha Khater and Rania Kadry
Based: Egypt
Number of staff: 120
Investment: Bootstrapped, with support from Insead and Egyptian government, seed round of
$3.6 million led by Global Ventures


Aston Villa 1
Samatta (41')
Manchester City 2
Aguero (20')
Rodri (30')