JAKARTA: As the daughter of farmers, she grew up without knowing about shopping centres or karaoke.
After attending an Islamic boarding school for her junior high education, Listyowati wanted to have her own savings and decided to venture overseas for work.
In Hong Kong, when she got a mobile phone with a touch-screen for the first time, she did not even know how to create a Facebook profile.
After a friend set one up for her, she started “searching for women who wore a hijab or a burqa, and men with Islamic attributes” to add as friends on the social media platform.
She soon learnt about a country called Syria and was shocked by the war there. “Seeing their struggles drove me crazy,” said the 33-year-old. “It made me shed tears.”
Her quest to learn more about the conflict led her to an Islamic State (IS) social media group that shared updates and propaganda. She channelled money to extremists who had pledged their support for the IS.
She also came to possess a semi-automatic rifle through an Indonesian IS convert named Arif. Listyowati, who worked in Singapore before Hong Kong, claims that she wanted to use the weapon in Syria.
“If we die there, it means we’re martyrs. We won’t feel hurt. It’s as if we’re bitten by a mosquito,” she told the programme Undercover Asia.
But she was arrested and is now serving a three-and-a-half-year sentence in Jakarta for funding the IS and buying weapons.
Listyowati is one of the faces of a new form of terrorism that has emerged in the region in recent years: Female jihadis who are willing to die for their cause.
WATCH: Female jihadists — Asia’s new force in terror (47:54)