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At a School for Suicide Bombers' Children, Dancing, Drawing and Deradicalization

At a School for Suicide Bombers' Children, Dancing, Drawing and DeradicalizationMEDAN, Indonesia — Ais likes to dance. She knows the words to "I'm a Little Teapot." Her dimples are disarming.Her parents didn't want their daughter to dance. They didn't want her to sing. They wanted her to die with them for their cause.Last year, when she was 7, Ais squeezed onto a motorcycle with her mother and brother. They carried a packet that Ais refers to as coconut rice wrapped in banana leaves. Her father and other brother climbed onto a different bike with another parcel. They sped toward a police station in the Indonesian city of Surabaya, a place of mixed faith.The parcels were bombs, and they were set off at the gate to the police station. Catapulted off the motorcycle by the force of the explosion, Ais rose from the pavement like a ghost, her pale head-to-toe garment fluttering in the chaos. Every other member of her family died. No bystanders were killed. The Islamic State militant group, halfway across the world, claimed responsibility for the attack.Ais, who is being identified by her nickname (pronounced ah-iss) to protect her privacy, is now part of a deradicalization program for children run by the Indonesian Ministry of Social Affairs. In a leafy compound in the capital, Jakarta, she bops to Taylor Swift, reads the Quran and plays games of trust.Her schoolmates include children of other suicide bombers, and of people who were intent on joining the Islamic State in Syria.Efforts by Indonesia, home to the world's largest Muslim population, to purge its society of religiously inspired extremism are being watched keenly by the international counterterrorism community. While the vast majority of Indonesians embrace a moderate form of Islam, a series of suicide attacks have struck the nation, including, in 2016, the first in the region claimed by the Islamic State, also known as ISIS.Now, with hundreds of Islamic State families trying to escape detention camps in Syria amid Turkish incursions into Kurdish-held territory, the effort has taken on more urgency. The fear is that the Islamic State's violent ideology will not only renew itself in the Middle East, but may also metastasize thousands of miles away in Indonesia.There are signs that it is already happening.Last week, a man whom the police linked to ISIS wounded the Indonesian security minister, Wiranto, in a stabbing. Since then, at least 36 suspected militants who were plotting bombings and other attacks have been arrested in a counterterrorism crackdown, the police said this week.Hundreds of Indonesians went to Syria to fight for ISIS. In May, the police arrested seven men who had returned from the country and who, the police say, were part of a plot to use Wi-Fi to detonate explosive devices.The risks, however, are not limited to those who have come back. Indonesians who never left the region are being influenced by the Islamic State from afar.In January, an Indonesian couple who had tried but failed to reach Syria blew themselves up at a Roman Catholic cathedral in the southern Philippines. More than 20 were killed in the attack, which was claimed by the Islamic State.In Indonesia, there are thousands of vulnerable children who have been indoctrinated by their extremist parents, according to Khairul Ghazali, who served nearly five years in prison for terrorism-related crimes. He said he came to renounce violence in jail and now runs an Islamic school in the city of Medan, on the island of Sumatra, that draws on his own experience as a former extremist to deradicalize militants' children."We teach them that Islam is a peaceful religion and that jihad is about building not destroying," Khairul said. "I am a model for the children because I understand where they come from. I know what it is like to suffer. Because I was deradicalized, I know it can be done."Despite the scale of the country's problem, only about 100 children have attended formal deradicalization programs in Indonesia, Khairul said. His madrassa, the only one in Indonesia to receive significant government support for deradicalization work, can teach just 25 militant-linked children at a time, and only through middle school.Government follow-up is minimal. "The children are not tracked and monitored when they leave," said Alto Labetubun, an Indonesian terrorism analyst.The risks of extremist ideology being passed from one generation to the next are well-documented, and a number of Indonesians linked to the Islamic State are the offspring of militants.The son of Imam Samudra, one of the masterminds of the 2002 bombing on the island of Bali that killed 202 people, was 12 when his father was executed in 2008. He joined the Islamic State and died in Syria at 19.Khairul, whose father and uncles were members of a militant organization, said he understood the pull of family obligation. He was sent to prison in 2011 for armed robbery and for planning an attack on a police station. Before his conviction, Khairul taught four of his 10 children to fire weapons."Deradicalizing my own children was very difficult," he said. "My wife and my children looked at me very strangely when I got out of prison because I had changed."Some of the children under Khairul's care were taught to assemble bombs by family members. The parents of about half the students were killed in armed conflict with the Indonesian counterterrorism police."It's natural for the children to want revenge for their parents' deaths," he said. "They were taught to hate the Indonesian state because it is against the caliphate."When Indonesia achieved independence in 1945, religious diversity was enshrined in the constitution. About 87% of Indonesia's 270 million people are Muslims, 10% are Christian, and there are adherents of many other faiths in the country.A tiny fraction of the Muslim majority has agitated violently for a caliphate that would arc across Muslim-dominated parts of Southeast Asia. The latest incarnation of such militant groups is Jamaah Ansharut Daulah, considered the Indonesian affiliate of the Islamic State.The parents of Ais, who is now 8, were members of a Jamaah Ansharut Daulah cell. Each week, they would pray with other families who had rejected Surabaya's spiritual diversity.The day before Ais and her family rode up to the police station in May 2018, another family — mother, father, two sons and two daughters — made their way to three churches in Surabaya and detonated their explosives. Fifteen bystanders were killed. The militant family was extinguished entirely, including the two girls, who went to school with Ais.Hours later, members of two other families in the prayer group also died, either from shootouts with the police or when explosives hidden in their apartment detonated. The six children who survived the carnage are now in the Jakarta program with Ais.When they first arrived from Surabaya, the children shrank from music and refrained from drawing images of living things because they believed it conflicted with Islam, social workers said. They were horrified by dancing and by a Christian social worker who didn't wear a head scarf.In Surabaya, the children had been forced to watch hours of militant videos every day. One of the boys, now 11, knew how to make a bomb."Jihad, martyrdom, war, suicide, those were their goals," said Sri Wahyuni, one of the social workers taking care of the Surabaya children.On a recent weekday, however, the children shimmied their way through team-building exercises. During Arabic class, they squirmed. They drew the human figure they had once considered taboo.But their religious practice remains important. Although it is not required, all seven still fast two days a week to demonstrate commitment to their faith."We don't want to challenge their religion by stopping them," said Ahmad Zainal Mutaqin, a social worker who also teaches religion classes. "Indonesians respect their elders, and we don't want them to think their parents were evil."Some day soon, these children of suicide bombers will have to leave the government program in which they have been enrolled for 15 months. It's not clear where they will go, although the ministry is searching for a suitable Islamic boarding school for them.The children of those who tried to reach Syria to fight get even less time at the deradicalization center — only a month or two. Some then end up in the juvenile detention system, where they re-encounter extremist ideology, counterterrorism experts said."We spend all this time working with them, but if they go back to where they came from, radicalism can enter their hearts very quickly," said Sri Musfiah, a senior social worker. "It makes me worried."Irfan Idris, the director of deradicalization for Indonesia's National Agency for Combating Terrorism, acknowledged that threat, saying there "is not a guarantee" that the minors who have been funneled through government care pose no threat.Most children of the 1,000 or so people who have been convicted of terrorism-related crimes in Indonesia don't even have the chance to go through this effort at education and moderation. The government runs the one program in Jakarta and provides support for Khairul's madrassa."The solution is a very expensive, long-term mentoring program such as takes place with some of the white power youths in Europe, involving schools, social psychologists and attention to families," said Sidney Jones, the director of the Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict in Jakarta and an authority on Islamic militancy in Southeast Asia.But the political commitment to such an extensive effort is lacking in Indonesia.Alto, the terrorism analyst, said that even the nascent efforts underway in Indonesia might only be camouflaging the problem."Although it seems that they are obedient, it's a survival mechanism," he said of the students undergoing deradicalization. "If you were taken prisoner, you will do and follow what the captor told you to do so that you will get food, water, cigarettes, phone calls."But, he added, "you know that one day you will come out."At the madrassa in Medan, which preaches the dangers of radicalism within a conservative approach to Islam, a row of boys sat on the veranda of a mosque and expounded on their worldview. Dan, 12, agreed with classmates that Indonesia should be an Islamic state.What of the churches interspersed with the mosques in Medan? Dan, who is also being identified by a nickname to protect his privacy, giggled.His hands mimicked the shock of an explosion, and he formed a word."Bomb," he said. His laughter stopped.This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2019 The New York Times Company



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Omar: Trump's retweet of bogus 9/11 dancing claim puts 'my life at risk'

Omar: Trump's retweet of bogus 9/11 dancing claim puts 'my life at risk'Rep. Ilhan Omar accused President Trump on Wednesday of endangering her life by “continuing to spread lies” that she “partied” on the anniversary of Sept.11.



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FBI agent dancing in nightclub drops gun doing backflip, then accidentally shoots someone going to pick it up

FBI agent dancing in nightclub drops gun doing backflip, then accidentally shoots someone going to pick it upAn FBI officer who was showing off acrobatic dance moves in front of a crowd in a Denver nightclub accidentally shot a man in the leg after his gun fell from his pocket during a backflip. In a statement, the Denver Police Department said the agent “was dancing at a nightclub when his firearm became dislodged from its waistband holster and fell onto the floor. The off-duty agent was interviewed by police before being released to a Federal Bureau of Investigation supervisor.



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Dancing FBI agent accidentally shoots bar patron in Denver: police

Dancing FBI agent accidentally shoots bar patron in Denver: policeThe agent was taken to police headquarters, Putnam said, and later released to an Federal Bureau of Investigation supervisor. The Denver District Attorney’s office will decide whether to press any charges against the agent. Denver district attorney spokesman Ken Lane said by email on Sunday morning that the DA’s office had no comment as the incident remains under investigation by the Denver Police.



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Ice dancing pair overcomes costume issue, nabs the silver medal

Ice dancing pair overcomes costume issue, nabs the silver medalIce dancing pair Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron brought home a silver medal for France, despite an unexpected setback during Monday's short program.  At the start of the pair's short dance performance at the Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Papadakis suffered a costume issue when a clasp at the nape of her neck came undone, forcing her to balance holding her top in place with skating a difficult program. SEE ALSO: How to calm your nerves while watching the Olympics Papadakis and Cizeron perform their short dance program on Monday in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Early in the performance, Papadakis experienced an unexpected setback when a clasp on her costume came undone.Image: Getty ImagesNBC Sports has video of the challenging performance here. During a presser after the performance, Papadakis addressed the incident.  But on Tuesday in Pyeongchang, Papadakis and Cizeron managed to secure the silver medal after an excellent free dance performance. The couple came in second behind Canada's Scott Moir and Tessa Virtue, the maybe-couple of everyone's Olympic dreams. As the
Associated Press reported, Papadakis wasn't the first skater to experience a costume issue at this year's Winter Games. Yura Min of South Korea also had an issue with a clasp during a performance earlier this week. WATCH: This is how Margot Robbie looked like a master figure skater on 'I, Tonya'



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U.S. Ice Dancing Team Breaks Down After 'Heartbreaking' Mistake

U.S. Ice Dancing Team Breaks Down After 'Heartbreaking' MistakeThe dream of an Olympic medal came to a crashing end Tuesday for U.S. ice dancing team Madison Chock and Evan Bates.



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The Last Known Dancing Bears Of Nepal Have Been Rescued

The Last Known Dancing Bears Of Nepal Have Been RescuedThe last two known bears forced to dance for spectators in Nepal have been rescued.



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Boy, 14, arrested in Saudi for 'improper public behaviour' by dancing to Macarena in street

Boy, 14, arrested in Saudi for 'improper public behaviour' by dancing to Macarena in streetA 14-year-old boy has been arrested in the Saudi city of Jeddah for dancing to the Macarena song in a street. The boy was accused of "improper public behaviour" for enjoying the 1990s pop hit as he crossed a road. Jeddah boy dancing in the middle of Tahlia Street is the hero we need pic.twitter.com/fui9v2UuDF— Ahmed Al Omran (@ahmed) August 19, 2017 Mecca  police said the unnamed boy also disrupted traffic. It was unclear if he was going to be formally charged. In a 45-second video clip, shared widely on social media, the boy stops halfway across the road and starts the well-known dance routine. The footage was first posted last year, but his arrest was reported on Monday. Some said the boy was a "legend" and "hero", while others apparently agreed with the Saudi authorities, stating that he behaviour was "immoral". That's the kind of son I wanna have ������ t.co/iCDJ8Kyfdk— Sahira Nahari (@sahiranahari) August 22, 2017 I love him t.co/Joa5BHdkvJ— آيمي روكو (@AmyRoko) August 22, 2017 Earlier this month, a singer was arrested in the religiously conservative Islamic kingdom for using the 'dab' move in an onstage dance. Abdallah al-Shahani performed the dance at a music festival in the city of Taif in southwestern Saudi Arabia. The dance had been banned in the Kingdom by the National Committee for Drug Control, on the grounds that it advocated or encouraged drug abuse, according to Saudi media. A young woman was arrested last month after footage emerged of her wearing a miniskirt and crop top at an archaeological site. The woman is being questioned after footage emerged of her walking through a fort The unnamed woman was detained by Saudi Arabia’s vice and virtue police on charges of wearing “indecent clothing”. لو كانت اجنبية كان تغزلوا بجمال خصرها وفتنتة عيناها .. بس لانها سعودية يطلبوا محاكمتها ! #مطلوب_محاكمة_مودل_خلود pic.twitter.com/ttYqynySN2— فاطمة العيسى (@50BM_) July 16, 2017  



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Iran arrests six for dancing Zumba

Iran arrests six for dancing ZumbaIran has arrested six people for teaching Zumba classes to children, accusing them of trying to "change lifestyles" in the Islamic Republic. The group of four men and two women were charged over their dancing and for not adhering to the country's strict hijab dress code. “The members of a network teaching and filming Western dances have been identified and arrested," said Hamid Damghani, an official with the Revolutionary Guards.  He said the Latin American fitness classes had been mixed and videos of their practices were published on social media.  "They were arrested by the Guards' intelligence forces while teaching and creating video clips… as they sought to change lifestyles and promote a lack of hijab,” Mr Damghani said.  Iranian chess players Mitra Hejazipour (L) and Sara Khademalsharieh play at the Chess Federation in the capital Tehran on October 10, 2016.  Credit: AFP They were charged with dancing and failing to wear proper hijab – Islamic regulations that require women to wear headscarves and ban revealing clothing in public. Dancing is banned in Iran for women in front of men outside their immediate families, but in recent years Zumba and other dances have been banned even in women-only gyms, even if the rules are widely flouted. In June this year, the country's sporting federation said the exercise included "rhythmic motions and dance and are unlawful in any shape and title". "The promotion and teaching of dancing in the name of sport in women's gyms is a serious issue," Mr Damghani added. One gym manager told the Iranian daily newspaper Aftab-e Yazd that he would continue to teach Zumba but call it something else. "We need to have these classes. We have been teaching Zumba for 12-13 years and if they ban it, we will continue our class under a different name," he said. In 2014, seven young Iranians were arrested for dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit "Happy" in a home-made video that went viral on the internet. They were given suspended jail and lashing sentences.



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White House: If Hillary Clinton had fired Comey, Democrats ‘would be dancing in the streets’

White House: If Hillary Clinton had fired Comey, Democrats ‘would be dancing in the streets’White House deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the Democratic reaction to James Comey's dismissal shows they are guilty of "the purest form of hypocrisy."



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