Since the passage of a new anti-terrorism law in 2018 that allows for preventative strikes against suspected terrorists, law-enforcement agencies in Indonesia have redoubled efforts for early detection of threats from violent extremism. Much of the emphasis has been on tracking and monitoring the propagation of extremist ideology as a pathway to violent behaviour. Some of these measures, such as the enforcement of ideology tests for civil servants and the arrest of political opponents on dubious terrorism charges have led to criticism about shrinking civic space in Indonesia.

A critical but often overlooked, element of early detection in the CT/CVE effort has been the deployment of Indonesia’s vast network of neighbourhood leaders for monitoring and surveillance. This paper examines how different parts of the Indonesian state mobilise neighbourhood leaders for CT/CVE and how these grassroots leaders respond. It draws on qualitative evidence from Surabaya, where the 2018 suicide bombings triggered a city-wide effort to task neighbourhood leaders with counter-terrorism surveillance. Early findings suggest that while these leaders can play a critical role in coordinating emergency response in moments of crisis, social constraints on their authority prevent them from playing a long-term role in detecting or reporting extremism. 


About the speakers

Sana Jaffrey is a research fellow at the Department of Political and Social Change, Australian National University.

Rofhani is an associate professor in the Department of Islamic Theology and Philosophy, Sunan Ampel State Islamic University (UIN Sunan Ampel), Surabaya, Indonesia.



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