The government on Monday announced a ban on support for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) movement and warned citizens not to join the rebel group’s fight in Syria and Iraq.
Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Djoko Suyanto said that the rising profile of the ISIL movement in Indonesia, also known as ISIS, must be controlled as it posed a serious threat to the country’s cultural and religious diversity.
“The government rejects and bans the teachings of ISIS […] from growing in Indonesia. It [ISIL] is not in line with state ideology, Pancasila, or the philosophy of kebhinekaan [diversity] under the unitary state of the Republic of Indonesia,” he said at a press conference after a closed-door meeting at the State Palace.
Those present at the meeting included Indonesian Military Commander Gen. Moeldoko, National Police chief Gen. Sutarman, National Intelligence Agency (BIN) chief Marciano Norman and Religious Affairs Minister Lukman Hakim Syaifuddin.
The meeting generated several strategies for curbing domestic support for ISIL, one of which includes the creation of a campaign organized by the Religious Affairs Ministry in cooperation with several religious figures to raise public awareness about the perils of ISIL.
The Foreign Ministry, the Law and Human Rights Ministry, BIN and the National Counterterrorism Agency (BNPT) will also work together to detect and prevent would-be jihadists from traveling to conflict areas, including the areas where ISIL is currently waging battle.
The government has also ordered a ban on YouTube videos endorsing ISIL.
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono called on citizens to carefully examine conflicts in the Middle East, including those involving ISIL, noting that “not all problems in the Middle East concern religion”.
ISIL claims to have established a “Caliphate of the State of Islam” stretching from northern Syria to the west of Baghdad in Iraq. As many as 56 Indonesians have become ISIL fighters in Syria and Iraq, according to police chief Sutarman. He added that three of the 56 had already died.
Among those fighting with ISIL include Muhamad al-Indonesi, whose fiery speech in a recently uploaded YouTube video entitled Join the Ranks called on fellow Indonesian Muslims to join the ISIL struggle.
Sutarman revealed that Muhamed was a fugitive terrorist with links to the country’s most-wanted man, the terrorist leader Santoso.
“The man is a fugitive. He is connected to Santoso […] and has been on the run for more than a year,” he said.
Santoso, the East Indonesia Mujahideen leader, has pledged allegiance to the ISIL leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. ISIL has also received significant support from convicted terrorist and radical preacher Abu Bakar Ba’asyir, who is actively involved in seeking donations and recruiting fighters for ISIL, BNPT revealed.
The Law and Human Rights Ministry has confirmed that Ba’asyir, along with several other inmates, recently took a baiat, or oath of allegiance to ISIL at a prison on Nusakambangan Island, Central Java.
Sidney Jones, the director of the Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict (IPAC), supported the government’s stance on ISIL, but noted the need for concrete actions to curb ISIL movement in the country.
“In terms of deterring support for ISIL, many Indonesians are already playing a role, rejecting ISIL on Facebook and Twitter, pointing to ISIL brutality against other Muslims and questioning al-Baghdadi’s claim to the caliphate,” she said in an emailed interview on Monday.
Jones pointed out that although Ba’asyir had thrown his support behind ISIL, many of his followers within Jamaah Ansharut Tauhid (JAT) were reluctant to follow suit.
Paper Edition | Page: 1