Looking for evidence: Two officers from the Surakarta Police Crime Scene Investigation (CSI) unit examine the scene of the shooting - a police post near the Singosaren Plaza in Surakarta, Central Java, on Thursday night. Two unidentified men driving a motorcycle shot dead a police officer on Thursday at 9:15 p.m. It was the third attack on police officers in the city within two weeks. (Antara/Andika Betha)People in Central Java are said to be the main targets for recruitment to the Indonesian Islamic State (NII) and account for the highest financial contributions to the movement.
“Everybody in Central Java who cares about the integrity of the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia (NKRI) and who wants to uphold religious harmony should be aware of the NII, because the province is the main target of its operations,” Ken Setiawan, a former activist with the NII said in Cilacap, Central Java on Friday.
“This threat is very serious. These people from the NII movement are forwarding hardline Islamic teachings, and they twist verses from the Koran to support their arguments,” he added.
Ken, who is a researcher for the NII Crisis Center, was speaking on the empowerment of religious values and state ideology Pancasila in the regency.
Although the government had banned the movement, Ken said activists have never stopped spreading their teachings.
He suggested that universities and schools should also be on the alert as NII members tended to join in with religious activities conducted on campuses.
“Give them just five minutes, then the person indoctrinated is already a different kind of Muslim,” Ken pointed out, adding that the program to have the NII outlawed in the country needed to be disseminated among the people.
The former head of the Cilacap office of National Unity and Community Protection (Kesbanglinmas), Yayan Rusyawan, echoed Ken's comments, saying that the NII had expanded its operations in the regency during the last five years.
“I can say that the NII may have penetrated into more than 70 percent of the regency's districts. There have been a lot of victims. But the total number we have is only based those people who reported specific incidents,” Yayan said.
One of the largest universities in Central Java, Jenderal Soedirman University, recently reported that at least 40 students had been recruited by the movement. The campus had compiled reports from parents who said their children had changed and had become radical Muslims.
From this number, some were recovered and returned home to their families, but the others are still missing.
Another speaker at the discussion, Faozan Amar from Muhammadiyah's central board, said the existence of NII was a reflection of the inability of Islamic groups in the country to communicate their doctrines in a plural society.
Surakarta (commonly known as Solo), the second-largest city in the province after the provincial capital of Semarang, has been the site of three attacks within the past two weeks, when police posts in three different locations in the city were attacked by unidentified assailants. Two of the attacks took place on Aug.17 and Aug. 18, while the most recent, in which a policeman was shot dead, occurred on Thursday evening.
Surakarta is known to be a hotbed of radical Islam, where many terrorists have either been detained or shot dead by police. (fzm/swd)