Former IS recruit shares story of path to terrorism

Those targeted are enticed with all sorts of promises.Street hawker Junaedi was recruited by Abu Jandal, one of the two most powerful Indonesians in Syria.

Junaedi tells his story in a new film documenting exactly how IS networks radicalise young Indonesians. It was made by Noor Huda Ismail, who has dedicated his life to turning them away from terrorism.

Mr Ismail is in touch with many Indonesians who have joined IS in Syria and some who have returned.

“Abu Jandal promised that Islamic State would pay [Junaedi’s] debts. It means he will receive a salary of maybe $250,” he said.

“Maybe for Australians that is just nothing, but for Indonesians, that’s quite a bit of money you know.”

The reality Junaedi found in Syria was vastly different to what he was promised.

“Before you arrive there you have a different vision of the place,” Junaedi said.

“You think it will be good — that is until you experience it for yourself. I was shocked when I first arrived … there was no electricity.”

The promised monthly salary of $250 was closer to $60.

“It was ISIS’ broken promises, basically,” Mr Ismail said.

Mr Ismail said disillusioned fighters like Junaedi were valuable because they could be used to prevent other Indonesians from joining IS.

“They can say, ‘look, basically what ISIS told you is not right. I was there, it was horrible living out there. Please don’t go’,” he said.

It’s very simple — I don’t want to see more young people to travel to Syria.

Noor Huda Ismail

In the last few years, Mr Ismail has watched as local Indonesian terrorism networks have been eclipsed by IS.

“This is a new cluster of terrorist groups in Indonesia, individuals who do not have any link to known terrorist groups like Jemaah Islamiyah,” Mr Ismail said.

“In the past, when the Indonesian police arrest one guy, they can easily track them down because they are linked to one specific group. Now they come from everywhere.” (

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