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Muslim Student Radicalism and Self-Deradicalization in Indonesia


Journal abstract

In recent years, the phenomenon of religious radicalism has become alarming, including the increasing number of youth involved in violence and terrorism. The university has now become a significant environment for the spreading of radical ideology. In Indonesia, for example, students at seven prominent public universities have been significantly exposed to radical groups. This article discusses religious radicalism among such Muslim students, on the basis of research at these seven universities. It refers to these educated youth who have been radicalized as ‘newbies’, not only because they recently embraced a radical viewpoint, but also because they were easily deradicalized, that is, they left behind their newly embraced ideology. The article underlines how these youth were deradicalized as a result of their rejection of the dogmatic ideologies and practices of absolutist Islamic groups. It argues that there is no direct connection between religious radicalism and violent terrorism, and that radicalized youth have an opportunity to question the impact of their involvement in the radical networks on themselves and others and deradicalize themselves without necessarily ascribing to the kind of religious understanding promoted by the state.

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