Roundtable Discussion on Women against Extremism: Preventing Violent-Extremism among Young Women in Malaysia

April 10, 2018

Date: Friday, 13th April 2018
Time:  3.00 PM – 5.00 PM
Venue: Journal Hotel, Kuala Lumpur

Paper Presentation
Dr. Julia Sveshnikova, Islamic Renaissance Front (IRF)

Dwi Rubiyanti Khalifah, Asian Muslim Action Network (AMAN), Indonesia
Thomas Samuel, Southeast Asia Regional Center for Counter-Terrorism (SEARCCT)
Ahmad El-Muhammady, IIUM

Organized by:
Islamic Renaissance Front (IRF)

Research and studies have indicated that Malaysia is not a country that is fully safe and protected from extreme acts and violent attacks, contrary to what most Malaysians would think. According to the Global Terrorism Index 2016 produced by the Institute of Economic and Peace (an Australia based non-profit group), Malaysia is now 61st in the ranking, increased from the 90th spot in the 2012 issue of the report, of the countries facing the impacts of terrorism. PEW Research Centre in November 2015 revealed that more Malaysian Muslims (11 percent) express a favorable view of ISIS than do Indonesian Muslims (4 percent). The survey results, support the thesis that the understanding of what constitutes religious extremism has shifted in a more rigid direction, and perhaps more so in Malaysia than in neighbouring country, Indonesia. In fact, not many realized that Kuala Lumpur and other states in the country had some role in major terrorism acts over the past decades and in the recent times.

Islamic Renaissance Front (IRF) sees the need to address and identify necessary steps to avoid the problem from spreading, and putting a stop to violent-extremism, especially that are related to young women. Since early this year, IRF is working on a prevention of violent extremism study, which focuses on young women in local universities in Malaysia. In this study, there are several key factors that have been identified to be the vulnerable points that could lead towards violent extremism tendencies among young women in Malaysia.

In this Roundtable Discussion on: Preventing Violent-Extremism among Young Women in Malaysia, IRF will be presenting the preliminary findings of the study, and will be sharing some possible solutions to the problem, in which we invite comments and additional information to be provided by other speakers, and the participants, especially to those who are involved in conducting researches, studies and policies, together with members of the public take part in the discussion to find the best solution in preventing the spread of violent extremism.

2.30 – 3.00        : Registration
3.00 – 3.10        : Welcoming speech by Afiqah Zulkifli
3.10 – 3.40        : Presentation by Dr. Julia Sveshnikova, (Islamic Renaissance Front)
3.40 – 4.00        : Speech by Dwi Rubiyanti Khalifah, Asian Muslim Action Network (AMAN), Indonesia
4.00 – 4.20        : Speech by Thomas Samuel, Southeast Asia Regional Center for Counter-Terrorism (SEARCCT)
4.20 – 4.40        : Speech by Ahmad El-Muhammady (IIUM)
4.40 – 6.00        : Other Opinions and Discussion
6.00                   : Tea

Biographies of Speakers

Dr. Julia Sveshnikova, Islamic Renaissance Front (IRF)
Julia Sveshnikova is a project manager for the project conducted by IRF and called Preventing Violent Extremism Among Young Muslim Women in Malaysia, supported by the Global Centre on Cooperative Security. She possesses LL.M. from the National Research University “Higher School of Economics” (Moscow), MA in Muslim World Issues from ISTAC, UIA (Kuala Lumpur) and her Ph.D. in world politics and history of international relations was obtained through the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences (Moscow). She has a number of publications on the issues of Muslim world, Middle East politics, Iran nuclear program cricis, and other topics, and serves as an analyst writer for Al-Monitor.

Dwi Rubiyanti Khalifah, Asian Muslim Action Network (AMAN), Indonesia
Dwi Rubiyanti Khalifah is currently representative of the Asian Muslim Action Network (AMAN) in Indonesia, which focuses on strengthening leadership of grassroots inter-faith women and consolidating progressive voices to advocate the rights of minority groups. She earned her Masters Degree in Health and Social Sciences at Mahidol University in Thailand, and her thesis, Contesting Discourses on Sexuality and Sexual Subjectivity Among Single Young Muslim Women in Pesantren and The Future of Asian Feminism: Confronting Fundamentalism, Conflict and Noe-Liberalism, has been published as a book. Ruby is a contributor to Majalah Potret and Aulia, a women magazine to promote women’s voices. With AMAN Indonesia, she initiated the Women’s School for Peace, a community for learning peace education for inter-faith mothers that has already spread to 20 communities in seven provinces to strengthen women’s leadership skills and organization in order to be able to contribute to peace building.

Thomas K Samuel, Southeast Asia Regional Center for Counter-Terrorism (SEARCCT)
Thomas K Samuel is at present the Director of the Research and Publications with the Southeast Asia Regional Centre for Counter-Terrorism (SEARCCT), which is under the purview of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Malaysia. Prior to that, he was a volunteer Health Officer with World Vision East Timor. He has a certificate in Terrorism Studies from St. Andrews University, Scotland (2007), an honours degree in Biomedical Technology (2000) and a Masters degree in Strategic and Defense Studies (2005) from the University of Malaya, Malaysia. His main areas of research include the dynamics of terrorism and counter-terrorism, focusing on radicalization, countering the terrorist narrative and youth involvement in terrorism. He lectures frequently on counter-terrorism and international security and has spoken in Bangladesh, China, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Nepal, The Philippines, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, the United States, Singapore and Thailand. He has also written several articles, papers and monographs. He is at present a Senior Fellow with the International Centre of Excellence for Countering Violent Extremism (Hedayah Centre) based in Abu Dhabi, UAE.

Ahmad El-Muhammady, International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM)
Ahmad El-Muhammady is a Lecturer at the Centre for Islamization, International Islamic University Malaysia and a member of the Institute for Youth Research, Ministry of Youth and Sport. His areas of interest include extremist ideology, extremism and militancy in Southeast Asia, deradicalisation and rehabilitation of terrorist detainees. He possesses a vast experience in working as a member of rehabilitation/deradicalisation panel, appearing in court as expert witness for terrorism-related cases, providing consultancy to national and international agencies on countering/preventing violent extremism issues, terrorist profiling and radicalisation. One of the recent projects he accomplished include Profile of Youth Involvement in Extremist Activities and Guidelines for Preventing Radicalism and Extremism Among Youth and Society (published by the Institute for Youth Research Malaysia (IYRES), Kuala Lumpur, 2017).