25 May 2015
When the Religious Rehabilitation Group (RRG) was officially formed in April 2003, it had only 11 members. All of its volunteers were male asatizah (religious teachers, advisers and counsellors), as the rehabilitation work at that nascent stage was concentrated on understanding and countering the radical ideology of Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) detainees.
As religious counselling for the detainees and those under Restriction Order (RO) progressed, there was a realisation that their wives should be offered religious counselling as well. Acknowledging the religious and cultural sensitivities — as counselling is usually conducted one-to-one in a private setting — female religious advisers were invited to join the RRG in 2005.
Despite the lack of religious counselling for the wives in the early years, the welfare of the detainees’ families was not neglected. Understanding that these families might experience emotional trauma and financial difficulties, the Aftercare Group (ACG) was swiftly formed in February 2002, shortly after the first wave of the arrests of JI members. The ACG comprised voluntary non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that provided a range of services including counselling, financial assistance, job assistance for detainees’ spouses and educational assistance for schoolgoing children.
… Nur Irfani Saripi is an associate research fellow of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, and also a volunteer of the Religious Rehabilitation Group (RRG). This commentary first appeared in RSIS Commentaries.
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Last updated on 18/11/2015