“No one is born a terrorist… it’s an acquired process”

Jihad Selfie is Noor Huda Ismail’s efforts in exploring the allure of the ISIS movement and the various motivations behind the uprooting and joining of the terror group.  Jihad Selfie tracks Huda’s journey in documenting how men, both adult and young, get radicalised.

Noor Huda Ismail

Having received his master’s degree in International Security from St Andrews University, Huda is completing his PhD in International Relations and Politics at Monash University.  In 2008, he had established the Institute for International Peace Building, seeking to reintegrate former convicted terrorists into mainstream Indonesian society through employing them at his de-radicalisation cafe and empowers women directly affected by violence in post conflict areas.


The film’s main narrative centres on a teenager, documenting his footsteps towards the ISIS jihad life. Through a chanced meeting at a kebab store in Turkey, he met the 16-year-old who was captivated by the promise and publicity of the jihad rebellion. His schoolmates had earlier joined ISIS. They were all recruited online via social media.


In the making of the film, Huda engaged with families and friends of radicalised individuals, boarding schools and rehabilitation centres where he collated and concluded that radicalisation is a complex issue, influenced by multiple elements.  Through these engagements, he is convinced that the ‘security approach’ is insufficient to counter terrorism and radicalisation.  Instead, individuals, families and societal groups play greater and more effective roles in preventing and countering the draw to extremism and terrorism.


The Jihad Selfie programme offers the screening of the film and more importantly, the complementary sharing by Huda, co-chaired by broadcast journalist Sujadi Siswo, on the interesting and surprising findings through the film’s production.  These findings are useful tools for society and authorities in addressing the increasing threats of radicalisation which is widespread across physical and cyber spaces.



Channeling the Jihad spirit and energy through alternative narrative and humanitarian

With the increasing intensity and spread of radical and extreme ideologies in cyber space, Mr Noor Huda Ismail introduced and urged for the adoption and application of a new approach - 'alternative narrative', to address online radicalism and extremism via a 3 day workshop on countering violent extremism (CVE) in Indonesia.

Veteran humanitarian from Singapore, Mr Hassan Ahmad, was invited to share his ground experiences and suggest on how Muslims, particularly from Indonesia, can serve appropriately  to improve the lives of those less fortunate, arising from poverty or natural disasters. In his delivery at the session, Mr Hassan underlined that humanitarian initiatives and engagements must include and involve volunteers and beneficiaries regardless of ethnicity or faith. He said, "This can be the common platform or vehicle for former combatants to better integrate with society and channel their Jihad energy from one that was fuelled by weapons, violence and destruction, to a Jihad guided by compassion, peace and development." 

At the workshop closing, the participants and organisers were zealous and unanimous that a humanitarian entity be formed as a collective and collaborative platform to ventilate compassion and extend assistance to the needy, and incidentally, convey the true values of Islam. Additionally, this would increase appreciation of the faith and facilitate better interfaith goodwill and harmony.

Institute for International Peace Building (Yayasan Prasasti Perdamaian), with the support of Dr Noor Huda and Mr Hassan, will establish a new humanitarian outfit, and provide appropriate training to the members and volunteers on the mechanics, principles and philosophy of humanitarian service in accordance with universal service standards, including humanity, impartiality and neutrality.  

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