Dr Haula Noor – 2022

From Villain to Hero: The Role of Disengaged Terrorists in the Social Inclusion Effort

Convicted terrorists who are released from prison often experience social stigma and exclusion. However, efforts from a group of formerly convicted terrorists who remain disengaged from their previous terrorist activities created an organisation to support their fellow ex-terrorists in reintegrating into the community. Through interviews with three organisations, namely Yayasan Persadani, Gema Salam and Hizbul Waton Indonesia, and their respective members, it was possible to explore their role in advocating for fair treatment and rights, assisting the families, and helping ex-terrorists through the process of rehabilitation. Data were analysed using descriptive phenomenology and discussed from a social inclusion perspective. Two themes emerged; first, through social inclusion efforts by and for convicted terrorists social belonging and connectedness developed. Second, while ensuring community safety, these organisations offer valuable assistance and a proven program of reintegration for convicted terrorists and radicalised inmates by becoming a reliable support system in times of need. From the organisation’s point of view, prevention of, and to help the ex-terrorists renounce, violent extremism, can be achieved through collaboration. This approach is sometimes the only prevention against extremist networks from approaching and encouraging released inmates to return to the violent and radical behaviour espoused by these networks.


Haula Noor is a PhD graduate of the Department of Political and Social Change at the Coral Bell School of Asia-Pacific Affairs, Australian National University (ANU). She received her BA in Psychology and a MA in Interdisciplinary Islamic Studies, both from the State Islamic University Syarif Hidayatullah in Indonesia. More recently, she obtained her doctoral degree for the research project titled ‘The Family Context and Its Role in Making Jihadists: The Case of Jihadist Families in Indonesia’. Her research interests include Family and terrorism, family psychology, Islamic studies, and terrorism ideology. Haula’s publications include “When Parents Take their Children in Jihadist Suicide Bombing” (2018) and “Normative Support for Terrorism: The Attitudes and Beliefs of Immediate Relatives of Jema’ah Islamiyah Members” (2011). 

Dr Haula Noor
PhD graduate, Department of Political and Social Change at the Coral Bell School of Asia-Pacific Affairs
Australian National University