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Just sharing – Effective Strategic Communication in Countering Radicalism in Indonesia


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by Irfan Abu Bakar

Executive Summary

A major problem with the Indonesian government’s efforts to counter radical ideology is lack of effective strategic communication in winning broader public support for their goals. This paper analyzes the level of effectiveness with which the Indonesian National Counterterrorism Agency (BNPT) has managed to deliver its message to target audiences in order to shape their opinions and behaviors towards radical ideology. This analysis emphasizes particularly the government’s recent shut down of alleged radical Islamic websites. This study shows that BNPT’s hardline programs managed to decrease the number of terrorists and weaken their networks. However, these counterradicalism programs have failed to convincingly involve the broader Muslim population to motivate them to challenge radical ideology, which remains pervasive in the public sphere. In order for the government to effectively shape people’s minds and behavior with regard to the threat of radicalism, it is necessary to ensure the clarity of the message, to enhance understanding of the target audience, and to maximize use of different channels of communications.

About Muhammad Haniff Hassan

Muhammad Haniff Bin Hassan is a Fellow. He holds a PhD and M.Sc. in Strategic Studies at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (previously known as the Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies), Nanyang Technological University. He received his early education in Aljunied Islamic School. He then continued his tertiary education at the Faculty of Islamic Studies, National University of Malaysia, with honours in Syar`iah and Civil law. Mr. Haniff is also active in social activities as a member of the Islamic Religious Council Appeal Board, HSBC Insurance Islamic Advisory Board from 2000 to 2014, Association of Islamic Religious Teachers and Scholars of Singapore (PERGAS) and Management Committee of Al-Irsyad Islamic School. He writes extensively in Berita Harian (a local Malay newspaper) and has also published articles in The Straits Times. He has published six books in his name, co-authored a monograph and helped publish two books for PERGAS and the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore. His personal website in Malay is at


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