‘They took my daughter away’: Parents say daughter who joined IS in Syria is victim

first_imgWarjiyem, 50, believes her daughter, Dani Fajarwati, 30, is a victim, not an Islamic State (IS) fighter, despite the fact that she is now in Al Hol Camp in Syria.“She went to Syria because her husband took her there. She is now in a tent at the camp with her toddlers,” Warjiyem told The Jakarta Post on Friday.In 2014, Warjiyem said, Dani and her husband went to Syria without telling Dani’s parents. Warjiyem believed her son-in-law was responsible for taking her daughter to Syria and joining the IS. Warjiyem cried the first time they spoke after five years without contact. She said her daughter was on the run and was hiding in empty houses. “I could not bear the thought that she, while taking care of her two young children, had to hide from one empty house to another only sustaining herself on half a bottle of water.”Since establishing contact, the parents have received pictures of their grandchildren, two boys aged 3.5 and 1.5.Warjiyem said she did not know where to ask for help so she could see her daughter again.  “I’m a good citizen, I will follow every government regulation [concerning repatriation], so please help us. We are the victims here. Please help me bring my daughter back.” Warjiyem said.She said she would support a deradicalization program for her daughter if necessary.Warjiyem remembered Dani as a funny, smart and cheerful girl who lived in their small house in Serengen subdistrict, Surakarta, Central Java. “But after she met her husband, she quickly became very private,” Warjiyem said.The couple married in secret in Lamongan, East Java, in 2013, without Warjiyem or her husband’s knowledge or approval.“My daughter often contacted her aunt, my sister. She remembered her number. We got this information from my sister,” she said.Warjiyem said she hoped President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, a former mayor of Surakarta, could help her family see their daughter again.“I beg you sir, Pak Jokowi, help me. I’m one of your people; I’m from [Surakarta] too. They took my daughter away. She was just a young girl; she did not know about anything. Please bring her back to Indonesia.“If you cannot bring my daughter home for some reason, please at least, Mr. President, have mercy and repatriate my grandchildren,” she said.Paidin, who was quiet for most of the interview, spoke up at the end to plead with the government. “I hope the President can see that not all of them are guilty. Please, allow some consideration. My daughter is a victim; she was just a callow person when her husband got into her [head],” he said.Many Indonesian citizens like Dani and her children are living in limbo in camps in Syria. Some 660 Indonesian citizens have been identified as foreign terrorist fighters who have pledged allegiance to IS and joined the movement in Syria and surrounding countries.Jokowi and Coordinating Legal, Political and Security Affairs Minister Mahfud MD share similar views on the issue. They both disagree with the idea of repatriating Indonesian citizens who went abroad to join IS.Topics : Warjiyem said she heard about her daughter’s whereabouts from her sister who lived in Jakarta and had a close relationship with Dani. Warjiyem and her husband Paidin, 53, learned that Dani was in the late stages of pregnancy when her husband took her to Syria.Warjiyem, 50, a resident of Surakarta, Central Java, shows a picture of her daughter, Dani Fajarwati, 30, and her grandson in Al Hol Camp in Syria. Warjiyem believes her daughter was a victim of her husband, who took her to Syria in 2014 without her parents’ knowledge. (JP/Kusumasari Ayuningtyas)After five years of silence between Dani and her parents, they finally spoke again last year.“While she was with her husband, we could not reach her. But after a big battle in March of last year, my daughter got separated from her husband, and since then, she has been able to contact me, borrowing her friends’ cell phones because she did not have one,” Warjiyem told the Post.last_img

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