Written by Priya Singh, an 18-year-old student
The two words don’t go together – bombmaker and peacemaker.
Well, not usually.
Who was Ali Fauzi?
He was a member of a militant group called Jemaah Islamiyah which is linked to the Al Qaeda. The group was responsible for a bombing attack in Bali, Indonesia in 2002, in which more than 200 people were killed.
Ali Fauzi once said “I am an expert bomb maker. I can make bombs in just five minutes.
Ali says that it is very easy to join terror groups as the members brainwash the newcomers towards violence. Ali was a member of Islamic militants in southern Philippines. His brothers were part of the group which detonated bombs at Bali, which is a popular tourist island. When Ali saw this incident on TV he was shocked at the brutality the bombing caused taking so many lives. It was the first time he witnessed the pain he could cause to humanity. Ali spent three years in jail as he was accused of other terror activities. The jail term made him a new man.
Before this, he only believed what his mentors told him. He considered the police as an enemy. But in jail, his perspective towards the police totally changed, as the police treated him very humanely. During his time in jail, he saw a different reality from what he had been taught and this transformed his thinking and life. This jail period played a significant role in turning him from a bomb maker to a peacemaker as he realized humanity exists.
On meeting the victims of the bombings he wept as his heart melted on the realization of the horrific effect the bomb caused to others. This converted him into a peace creator.
Ali Fauzi is now working towards reducing the conversion of people into extremists and avoiding them from choosing intolerance. He works towards breaking the cycle of violence through a foundation he has set up which is dedicated to fighting radicalization and instilling hope in the minds of the young. He helped in the establishment of a foundation called ‘The Circle of Peace’ which has its office close to a mosque.
The members of this foundation are former terrorists, former combatants, and former Jeemah Islamiyah members. He thanks God for changing him as he feels much better now as a peacemaker. He is proud of what he is doing now. He is spreading peace all over Indonesia. He sets an example for everyone that it is never too late to take the path of peace and non-violence.
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