Speaker: Solahudin (Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict, Indonesia)
Title: “Extremist Marriage: The Role of ISIS Women in Indonesia”
Commentator: Masako Ishii (Rikkyo University)
Moderator: Chika Obiya (CSEAS)
Women in radical Islamic groups are often portrayed as inferior figures. But it is different in the case of women who joined ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) in Indonesia. They have a relatively superior role. For example, jihad is not the monopoly of men, women are also permitted to wage armed jihad. The superior role of ISIS women can also be seen in ISIS family marriages. In certain cases ISIS also allows equality between women and men. For example, in the right to file for divorce. Generally in radical Islamic groups the right to file for divorce is the husband’s monopoly right. But ISIS allows wives to divorce their husbands and they can even annul the marriage without needing the consent of the husband. Apart from that, ISIS also makes marriage easier, women can get married without needing parental guardians. ISIS also allows online marriage and divorce. As a result, there are dozens of cases of ISIS women in Indonesia divorcing their husbands and then remarrying. The ease of getting divorced and married has also led to cases of exchanging spouses among ISIS supporters in Indonesia.
What are the factors that make ISIS women’s role in the family superior to the role of women in other radical groups? Are these just related to ideological factors? If so, why have divorce cases among ISIS families in Indonesia increased since 2018? Are there social and security contexts in Indonesia that make the role of ISIS women increasingly superior? What is the impact of changing the role of women on the dynamics of terrorism in Indonesia? These questions will try to be answered in this presentation. This presentation is based on analysis of data taken from case studies of divorce and marriage among ISIS families in Indonesia as well as interviews with former ISIS activists including those whose wives divorced them.
Solahudin is a researcher on jihadi movement in Indonesia for more than a decade. He is the author of The Roots of Terrorism in Indonesia (Cornell University Press, 2013). Now he is visiting research scholar at CSEAS, Kyoto University. He used to be a journalist and press freedom activist, including the position of Secretary-General of the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) from 2001-2003. His advocacy in cases of violence against journalists includes successfully acting as a mediator in the release of two Belgian journalists held hostage by Free Papua Movement (OPM) in Papua in 2001. He was also a member of the mediation team that negotiated the release of an Indonesian journalist held by the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) in 2004.
*The Seminar is organized by Gender Equality Promotion Committee, CSEAS, Kyoto University.