The Jakarta Post
The Riau Islands Police are increasing security measures to monitor hard-line Islamic groups whose members tend to give religious sermons to local communities across Riau Islands province.
Such measures were taken to prevent the spread of religious teachings that could lead to radical behavior, a police officer has said.
Riau Islands Police spokesperson Sr. Comr. Saptono Erlangga said the police had obtained a list of names of people who were registered as members of hard-line Islamic groups that often led religious sermons in Muslim communities in the province, especially Batam.
“We have the records and we are monitoring them routinely. As long as their activities do not harm the people, we will only monitor their activities,” said Saptono.
He refused to mention the names and number of radical preachers included in the list. “As long as the content of their sermons is fine, we will let it happen,” said Saptono.
He was speaking in response to a circular issued by the Bangka Belitung Islands Police in Pangkal Pinang on April 28. Signed by Pangkalpinang Police security intelligence director Adj. Comr. M. Adi Putra, the circular regulates the activities of mass organizations or community groups that carry out their activities in mosques.
In the letter, the police asked all mosque administrators to report individuals or groups that had used their mosques to hold religious activities or deliver sermons to Muslim communities in the areas. The letter spread among Muslim communities in Batam via WhatsApp. (ebf)