After 12 years in Malaysia learning about Islam and being subjected to a lot of propaganda, I came back to Indonesia and became involved in terrorist activities. I was eventually arrested and convicted for my involvement in a CIMB bank robbery in 2010, an attack on Hamparan Perak sub-precinct police station that killed three policemen, and also for military training in Jantho, in Aceh Indonesia.
In prison, I realized my child was no longer going to school because he was being bullied. The other children would say things like, “Your father is a terrorist. He commits treason.” This was also happening to the children of other terrorists. That really affected me.
‘The children are victims in this. They pay the price for their parent’s choices. ’
When I was freed from prison, I established an Islamic boarding school which acts as a place for trauma healing for the children of terrorist. I took in ten students whose fathers had been killed or were still imprisoned. The community wasn’t happy at first - they vandalized the school sign on three different occasions. Now we have 48 pupils, and those who initially refused to accept our school are now sending their own children to study here.
When I became a terrorist, that decision was full of action. Now I am repentant and back on the right path, but I must be able to prove it also with action. Rehabilitating these children is my way of doing that.