IS fighters tag wives, children in 1-way ticket to heaven

IS fighters tag wives, children in 1-way ticket to heaven
File photo of ISIS supporters.

Sitting slightly slouched on a worn-out leather couch, Muhammad Amin Mude smiled confidently as he explained why he helped parents and their children travel from Indonesia to war-torn Syria to join the outlawed Islamic State (IS) movement, known also as ISIS or ISIL.

"Everyone knows that IS is forming a caliphate in Syria and I am just helping people to go there so that they can be better Muslims," he told The Jakarta Post on Sunday at the Jakarta Police headquarters in Central Jakarta.

But unlike in previous jihads, such as the one in the 1980s when many Indonesians travelled to Afghanistan to wage war against the invading Soviet Union, Amin's recipe for "better Muslims" in time of war also includes this time around the participation of wives and children.

Amin encouraged bringing families to Syria to fight with IS as it would provide good jobs and education.

"The IS is different from the movement in Afghanistan that just waged jihad and the people returned to Indonesia. Those going to Syria now are performing jihad and hijrah. They do not expect to come back here, dead or alive," he said.

In the Quran, hijrah is the migration of the Prophet Muhammad and his followers from Mecca to Medina in Saudi Arabia.

Amin likened the journey of Indonesians to Syria or Iraq as hijrah, as they were seeking ways to heaven based on the adoption of strict Islamic law and far from worldly sins.

"I will also take my two wives and 10 children there when I'm financially and physically ready. I want to wage jihad too and raise my children to be devout," Amin said, chuckling slightly while glancing quickly at his bulging belly concealed under a T-shirt.

According to the Jakarta Police, Amin was allegedly behind the recruitment and facilitation of six people from Makassar in South Sulawesi, who were arrested for trying to use fake documents for their travel to Syria to join the IS.

Of the six, three were a family, comprising a father, mother and a 10-year-old girl.

The father has been identified as 36-year-old Muhammad Imran, alias Abdul Jabbar Rauf Sutarman, and the mother as 34-year-old Nurleli, alias Ratna Pratiwi Sulaiman.

The family was planning to permanently relocate to Syria after selling their house and had bought one-way tickets.

They were caught shortly before departing from Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Tangerang, Banten, on Saturday. The arrest led the police to Amin's role as the six people had stayed at his house in Cibubur, East Jakarta, after transiting in from Makassar.

Amin claimed he had dispatched 10 people to Syria in September, one of whom had died.

The arrest came after Malaysian authorities deported 12 Indonesians - three men, four women and five children - for attempting to travel to Syria from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, earlier this month.

Muhammad Imran argued that he had been tempted to go to Syria for the abundant job opportunities there as he did not make much as a fish trader in Makassar.

"I wanted to take my family somewhere I could get a good job and we could live peacefully under pure sharia law. I wasn't going to join the fight," he said.

Muslim extremists worldwide have long dreamed of reviving the caliphate that ruled the Middle East and surrounding areas over the course of Islam's 1,400-year history.

Amin said those traveling to Syria did not expect to return because most Indonesians assumed IS was a terrorist group.

"The media has misconstrued so many things; IS hasn't slaughtered anyone. The Syrian and Iraqi governments, who are largely Shiite, have been slaughtering Sunni women and children. IS is only protecting its Sunni brethren," Amin claimed.

A UN report published in November stated that IS had brutally killed hundreds of prisoners of war and thousands of civilians. Furthermore, the UN accused the group of the sexual enslavement of Yazidi women, the use of child soldiers and basing themselves in civilian houses and farms in response to US-led air strikes.

By Sunday, Imran was the only one named a suspect for making and traveling with counterfeit passports. Meanwhile, the others remained witnesses in the case.

Jakarta Police violent crimes detective (Jatanras) chief Sr. Comr. Herry Heryawan said that Amin had yet to be named a suspect despite his alleged confession as a recruiter.

Unlike in Malaysia and Singapore, where IS supporters can be charged and detained upon their departure to the combat zone, local authorities still have no legal basis to do so, despite the government's vocal prohibition of IS.

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