On this week’s podcast, Julie Chernov Hwang talks about her new book, Why Terrorists Quit: The Disengagement of Indonesian Jihadists, (Cornell Press, 2018) on the factors that convince jihadists to move away from the extremist ideologies of groups like Jemaah Islamiyah and Mujahidin KOMPAK. Over the course of six years Chernov Hwang conducted more than one hundred interviews with current and former leaders and followers of radical Islamist groups in Indonesia to write this book.
“The linchpin of successful disengagement, reintegration. is the establishment of an alternative social network of friends, mentors, and supportive family members. Then second and complementary to that are priority shifts that refocus the extremist away from movement- towards family, towards furthering one’s education, towards finding gainful employment to sustain life,” says Chernov Hwang. “And so these two factors taken together can help the extremists develop a post Jihad identity, possibly post group identity. And moreover they can function as a counterweight to the pull of the movement, the friends, and the incentives for reengagement too.”
Julie Chernov Hwang is an associate professor of political science and international relations in the Center for People, Politics and Markets at Goucher College. She was a 2012 Luce South East Asia Fellow at the East West Center and currently serves as Managing Editor of Asian Security.