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Two years after Surabaya bombings, radicalism still grows in Indonesia

After two years, the question still lingers, why is it so easy to lure women and even children to become bombers? The government, authorities, community and religious organizations agree that radicalization is the driver behind their actions.


On May 13, 2018, three churches in Surabaya, Indonesia, were targeted by suicide bombers comprising a radicalized family of six. The attacks killed 13 and wounded 41. These are the first suicide bombings involving women and young children in Indonesia, demonstrating a new modus operandi.

Today, radicalization is still alive and moving rapidly. But the path is now different. It’s no longer an in-person indoctrination, but wrapped in a video or narrative, then spread through social media.

In a webinar discussion held by IDN Times via Zoom on May 13, titled “A New Normal: Terrorism and Digital Acceleration – A Two-Year Commemoration of the Surabaya Bombing,” many Indonesian experts, including former extremists, shared their thoughts.

The difference in the spread of radicalism in the era of digitalization was recognized by a former terrorist prisoner, Saifudin Umar (aka Abu Fida), who was part of different terrorist organizations until early 2000s.

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