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Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Entrepreneurship Can Help Reintegrate Former Terrorists

“You’re not scared of me?” Yusuf sked half-jokingly as he tossed his burnt pizza crust on the plate. “No,” I told him, but I probably should have been. Yusuf was convicted on terrorism charges for his connection to the 2002 Bali bombing that killed more than 200 people. He spent 10 years in an Indonesian prison, fought with al Qaeda, and personally knew Osama bin Laden. In his crowded restaurant in Surakarta, Indonesia, all that seemed very far away. But to him, perhaps it did not. “I built my business the same way I built my teams in Afghanistan,” he explained. “I fundraise, recruit people, track spending, monitor competition—it’s the same game.”

In the United States, someone like Yusuf might never walk free once in prison due to fears that he might return to militancy. The November 2019 terrorist attack in London, in which two people were stabbed to death by a man released from jail after serving half of his 16-year sentence for terrorism offenses, catapulted fears about recidivism into the public eye. Those concerns were deepened in February after another stabbing in which two people were killed by a man who had recently been released from prison for terrorism offenses.’

Read more at Foreign Policy

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