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Jakarta Post

Jokowi wants '€˜soft'€™ approach to terrorism

  • Ina Parlina

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Sat, December 20, 2014   /  09:11 am

President Joko '€œJokowi'€ Widodo said on Friday that '€œsofter'€ religious and cultural approaches were better tools in eradicating terrorism in the country, rather than adopting a security approach.

Speaking in front of Muslim scholars and rectors of state Islamic universities from around the country, Jokowi reiterated his stance, which he often shared with other world leaders, that softer approaches were needed to combat terrorism.

The President said the fact that there were 240 million people in the country further complicated the problems of radicalism and terrorism.

'€œWe have a security approach in Indonesia, but what is more important is [that we use] the religious and cultural approaches. These two can produce more permanent [results] and keep our country safe,'€ Jokowi said.

The President said he was convinced the security approach would not solve the problem of terrorism.

'€œThe security approach, which has been applied all over the world, is an approach that will not solve the problem,'€ Jokowi said.

Jokowi made the statement only two days after he ordered Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Tedjo Edhy Purdijatno to take the necessary steps to prevent the Islamic State (IS) movement from growing in Poso, Central Sulawesi, following intelligence that detected a growing IS presence in the mountainous district, which is already believed to be a terrorist hotbed.

In September, the police arrested seven suspected militants, including four individuals thought to hail from Chinese Turkestan, on their way to Poso, who police believed were planning to join a jihadist group in eastern Indonesia with possible links to the IS.

The police also suspected that Santoso, a leader of the Poso terrorist group, had joined the IS.

Defense Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu has urged Muslim preachers to speak up about the dangers of the IS in Muslim boarding schools, during religious activities or during Friday prayers, to raise awareness of the threat.

Jokowi did not elaborate on what he meant by a cultural approach, but said the country'€™s moderate Muslim organizations could set an example.

'€œWhat are the religious and cultural approaches? Just ask our clerics, ask the NU, the Muhammadiyah and other [Islamic] mass organizations about the approaches they are using,'€ Jokowi added. '€œIf [you] ask me, I may give the wrong answer and it will cause more trouble.'€

Jokowi was referring to Nahdlatul Ulama and Muhammadiyah, the country'€™s largest Muslim organizations.

Muhammadiyah cleric Najamuddin Ramly said he endorsed Jokowi'€™s approach.

'€œA security approach can'€™t root out the problem of terrorism. Only religious and cultural approaches can address the core of the problem,'€ Najamuddin told The Jakarta Post.

He said Muslim clerics should stand at the forefront in the war against terrorism.

'€œIt'€™s important for clerics to raise awareness of terrorism and change radical mind-sets, as these preachers speak a language that the radicals can understand,'€ he said.

In early December, some NU ulema agreed to engage in dialogues with radical groups to curb terrorism in the country, following a discussion with the National Intelligence Agency (BIN), the National Counterterrorism Agency (BNPT), the Foreign Ministry and the Defense Ministry at an Islamic Boarding School in Depok, West Java.

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