Crossing the Line: The religious affairs minister appeals to Indonesian Muslims to refrain from joining the radical group
Jakarta. Religious Affairs Minister Lukman Hakim Saifuddin appealed to Indonesian Muslims not to support the extremist Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS.
He called on local Muslims to be wary of ISIS’s request for support, stating that it is a radical movement that employs violent means to establish an Islamic state in Iraq and Syria.
In a press release on Friday, Lukman said that supporting ISIS runs counter to Indonesia’s state ideology of Pancasila.
He said Indonesians guilty of supporting ISIS, or pledging allegiance to the radical group, which seeks to establish an Islamic Caliphate in parts of the Middle East, will be considered as having pledged “allegiance to a foreign country.”
This can result in the revocation of the offenders’ citizenship.
Lukman also denounced ISIS affiliates in Indonesia that seek to recruit support while renouncing the state ideology.
“To say Pancasila is thogut, or pagan, which needs to be resisted, is crossing the line,” the minister said.
Lukman called on all Muslim leaders and organizations in Indonesia to guide their members to an understanding of Islam as rahmatan lil alamamin (a blessing to all humankind), adding that the unity of the nation must be preserved.
“Islamic teachings are about inviting and embracing all creeds graciously with wisdom, not through terror and violence,” said the minister, who is a member of the moderate Islamist United Development Party (PPP).
Meanwhile, senior figures in some of the country’s largest Muslim organizations have criticized ISIS.
Hasyim Muzadi, former chairman of Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), Indonesia’s largest Muslim association, spoke out against ISIS’s influence in Indonesia.
“ISIS is an extremist movement that has no respect for national sovereignty,” he said, as quoted by Tempo.co on Friday.
Similarly, Ahmad Syafii Maarif, former chairman of Muhammadiyah, Indonesia’s second-largest Muslim organization, said the jihadist group was committing “terror in the name of religion.”
“Do not bring it here, Indonesia is a safe country,” Maarif said as quoted by metrotvnews.com on Thursday
The religious affairs minister also called on law enforcement agencies to be prepared to take action against the spread of ISIS in Indonesia.
The jihadist group has sought to gain support in Indonesia, which has the most number of Muslims in the world, by various means. More recently, a recruitment video was uploaded to YouTube showing an Indonesian member calling for jihad and support in his home country.
While Lukman anticipates an increase in support for ISIS in this country, Ansyaad Mbai, the head of the National Counterterrorism Agency (BNPT), reported on Friday that there was currently only an estimated 30 Indonesians who have joined ranks of ISIS in the Middle East, as quoted by Kompas.
He said the 30 people were from various regions, including Jakarta, East Java and West Nusa Tenggara.
National Police chief Gen. Sutarman, meanwhile, gave his assurance that hard-line groups in Indonesia affiliated with ISIS will be dealt with.