The fight for the future of Islamic youth is underway and comic books are playing a role. In an attempt to prevent the young impressionable minds from being corrupted and turned into radicals, a group in Indonesia called Lazuardi Birru are looking at new and creative ways to strike directly at the root of the problem.
Lazuardi Birru was founded two years ago in Jakarta, Indonesia and the nonprofit advocates nonviolence and pluralism. For a year it has had writers and artists working on a 130 page graphic novel whose audience is potential youth who are targets to be radicalized.
Dhyah Madya, head of Lazuardi Birru says:
This comic book was made to emphasize the importance of peace, the correct understanding of jihad and the awareness of movements that promote violence in the name of religion to the youth of Indonesia.
The graphic novel tells the story of the 2002 Bali bombing that occurred in the tourist district of Kuta. The attack was the deadliest act of terrorism in the history of Indonesia, killing 202 people, including 88 Australians and 38 Indonesians.
The true story is from the perspective of three main characters, Ali Imron, one of the terrorists involved in the attack; Haji Agus Bambang Priyanto, a man who helped rescue people after the bombing; and Hayati Eka Laksmi, whose husband was killed in the attack. Interviews gathered the stories and the graphic novel is well researched.
Ali has become known as the brains behind the attack, but due to his remorse and cooperation with the police, he received a life sentence while his cohorts — Amrozi, Imam Samudra and Ali Ghufron — all got the death penalty and were executed in 2008. Over time he opened up to the team to tell his story.
Lazuardi Birru has printed more than 10,000 copies of the graphic novel and plans to distribute the bulk of them for free to mosques, Islamic boarding schools, universities and public libraries in all 33 provinces.