Despite being raised in radical families, children of the recently deported 41 Islamic State (IS) sympathizers aspire to become doctors and teachers, just like other kids their age, says a minister.
Social Affairs Minister Khofifah Indar Parawansa, who visited and talked to the children recently at a rehabilitation center in Bambu Apus, East Jakarta, said the children have the same dreams of becoming doctors, teachers and soldiers, despite being exposed to the radical views of their parents.
The 41 sympathizers, consisting of 24 women and 17 men, majority being husbands and wives, brought along 34 children in their attempt to migrate to Syria. They were arrested by officers on Turkish borders before reaching the war-torn region and deported to Indonesia in several stages between January and February.
One of them is a 3-week-old infant, but the majority of the children are between ages 3 to 10 years old.
“We reminded their parents about the children’s aspirations and encouraged them to support their kids in reaching their goals,” Khofifah said.
The IS sympathizers were sent to Bambu Apus shelter to prepare to return to society after the investigation of the National Police counterterrorism squad Densus 88 confirmed that they were not involved in terrorism acts.
They could only be charged under Law No.15/2003 on terrorism if they were found to have joined and fought with IS.
National Counterterrorism Agency (BNPT) chief Suhardi Alius, who was part of the visit, said that he found the children performed very well in school before going to Turkey.
“We hope that [after returning to society] the children will continue with their achievements,” Suhardi said. (wit)
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