January 11, 2014
A terrorism suspect slain on New Year's Day had been planning to wage jihad in Syria, Indonesian officials revealed.
"Nurul Haq was planning to go to Syria [to perform] jihad and had completed the required preparations, such as passport, visa requirements, and other necessities," the Antara news agency quoted National Police Chief Sutarman as saying January 2nd.
Nurul was one of six men slain while resisting arrest during a nine-hour standoff with Densus 88 in South Tangerang. They were suspected of robbing a Panongan district bank on December 24th and of bombing a Buddhist temple in Jakarta last August.
"They have a strong connection with their senior leadership, including [the late] Noordin M. Top," Sutarman added, referring to the six dead suspects. "Many of [the group's] leaders have been killed. I am sure they will continue their retaliation for that and, therefore, we need to remain vigilant."
Jihad by killing is wrong
Indonesian authorities could not provide how many Indonesians are fighting in Syria. However, several humanitarian aid and relief efforts for Syria originated in Indonesia.
Ismail Yusanto, a spokesman for Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia (HTI), said members of the hard-line group are going to Syria to join rebels fighting the Bashar al-Assad regime.
"Many of our members are conducting jihad [in] Syria. Since it is easier to come legally to Syria using a tourist visa, many of them are able to conduct jihad personally," he told Khabar Monday (January 6th).
Jihad was not an option but a command, he added, noting HTI already committed to helping mujahideen in Syria implement sharia law in its rebel-controlled areas.
Many Indonesians disagree with that understanding of jihad, however.
According to Central Jakarta Islamic cleric Burhanuddin, Indonesia needs jihadists not to wage war, but to fight intolerance and help fellow Muslims understand Islam's truths.
"Indonesian jihadists deploying to defend Muslims in other countries is not a new phenomenon, but is it necessary to go to Syria for now?" he told Khabar. "We need more jihadists to fight against improper understandings of Islam. Islam is not terrorists and we are not part of them."
Jakarta resident Susanto Abimanyu stressed jihad should be done in a positive way.
"As a Muslim, I think jihad to Syria can be done in a good way as many Indonesians have already started. We can help Syrian children and women to get healthy food and assure their security. I will agree with that," he said.
"However, jihad by killing people … is not Islamic and is wrong."