Lessons here for NZ Muslims who claim that it is poverty caused by the West that draws Muslims to Jihad.
Gen. Badrodin Haiti, the National Police chief, says ‘poverty and economic factors’ are no longer the main reasons for individuals to join extremist Islamic causes.
Jakarta. Indonesia’s top cop has ruled out poverty as a leading factor pushing individuals to become terrorists, contradicting a previous statement to that effect by President Joko Widodo.
Gen. Badrodin Haiti, the National Police chief, said on Friday that “poverty and economic factors” were no longer the main reasons for individuals to join extremist Islamic causes, citing support from middle-class Indonesians for the Sunni militant group Islamic State.
“The dominant factors are ideology and curiosity,” he told the Jakarta Globe.
He noted that most of the Indonesians who had gone to Syria to join Islamic State – around 300, according to the police; closer to 500 by other estimates – had funded their own travels, indicating that poverty was not a determining factor for them being drawn to the terrorist organization.
Badrodin added that Islamic State’s recruitment and propaganda campaigns aimed at Indonesians were being carried out mostly through social media – a domain patronized largely by the middle class.
“These days the phenomenon of people turning to terrorism as a means of escaping poverty is no longer the dominant factor,” he said. “The percentage of such people is very small. What we most often find, in fact, is that people become terrorists because they’re drawn by delusions of jihad.”
The police chief’s comments contradict those made by President Joko last month, when he identified poverty eradication as one of the key goals of his administration.
“Poverty and the widening social gap is dangerous and fuels social conflict as well as separatism, radicalism and terrorism,” Joko said at a meeting with armed forces chiefs in Jakarta on Dec. 16.