Australia to 'de-programme' militants
Australia has said it would consider a plan to de-programme Islamic militants in jail, despite criticism by a rights group that it amounted to brainwashing.india Updated: Mar 09, 2006 15:52 IST
Australia has said that it would consider a plan to "de-programme" all Islamic militants held in jail, despite criticism from a rights group that it amounts to brainwashing.
Police Commissioner Mick Keelty mooted the idea, saying that the technique involved using respected `imams' or people previously connected with militant organizations, to convert extremists to more moderate views.
Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said that while "re-programming isn't the phrase I would use", the idea would be considered, as it had been implemented successfully in Europe, the Middle East and Indonesia.
"Those governments have made an attempt to persuade extremists and terrorists who have been held in prison to change their point of view and to understand that it's not the Islamic way to kill, it's not the Islamic way to murder," he said.
"And in some cases that process has been successful. It's something that we will give thought to," Downer added.
Police chief Keelty, meanwhile, said that the process, which he likened to a treatment for drug addicts, had been successful in countries such as Indonesia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Britain.
Indonesia's anti-terrorist squad now has roped in Jemaah Islamiah (JI) commander Nasir bin Abbas for re-educating the arrested JI recruits, he said.
"It's somebody they would have otherwise looked up to as a natural leader, in terms of a terrorist, and they've turned him around and used him to convert the others," Keelty said.