Indonesians "not interested" in caliphate concept: expert

Amid a call by Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) leader Abu Bakar Bashir to back ISIS's goal of establishing a Middle Eastern caliphate, Indonesian authorities nab would-be jihadists.

By Maeswara Palupi for Khabar Southeast Asia in Jakarta

July 26, 2014
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A prominent expert on Islam is criticising the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria's (ISIS) extremist ideology as being unrealistic for Indonesia and out of touch with popular sentiment.

  •  Radical Indonesian cleric and Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) founder Abu Bakar Bashir waves from a police vehicle after his conviction in Jakarta on terrorism charges in June, 2011. [Romeo Gacad/AFP]

    Radical Indonesian cleric and Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) founder Abu Bakar Bashir waves from a police vehicle after his conviction in Jakarta on terrorism charges in June, 2011. [Romeo Gacad/AFP]

ISIS's recent declaration to establish a caliphate led by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi encompassing parts of Syria and Iraq lacks legitimacy, according to Jakarta State University rector Komaruddin Hidayat.

"The concept of a caliphate is now part of the history in Islam. It has already been replaced with the nation-state and democracy. That means [power] is not centralised under one person's leadership," Komaruddin told Khabar Southeast Asia.

He believes Indonesians would never accept a caliphate.

"Indonesia has many moderate Muslims, and they are not interested in this concept," he added.

Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) founder Abu Bakar Bashir 's reportedly endorsed ISIS's caliphate.

Many Indonesian extremists have answered Bashir's call to support the caliphate, but mainly out of anger over the situation in the Middle East, Komaruddin said.

"This is not what we have in Indonesia," he added.

Bashir's involvement

Mochammad Achwan, leader of the hard-line Indonesian group Jamaah Ansharut Tauhid (JAT) , told The Jakarta Post that the imprisoned JI leader had notified JAT of his support for jihadists fighting for ISIS.

"It is because ISIS will rule according to sharia, has a clear leadership, and is already established," Achwan told reporters. He also acknowledged that several JAT and JI members travelled to the Middle East to join ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra (JN).

The Indonesian government is responding by cracking down on Bashir's supporters who are trying to leave the country, National Counterterrorism Agency (BNPT) chief Ansyaad Mbai said.

"Bashir's followers had collected some funds and recruited volunteers. Internally, we have already arrested many of his members," Ansyaad told Khabar. "From our investigation, we know how Bashir is involved.

"We will continue to monitor any extremist organisations that exist in Indonesia, including JI, JAT, Majelis Mujahidin Indonesia (MMI) and the Indonesian Islamic State (NII) . They have similar ambitions."

A new generation of Mujahideen

Authorities also are keeping a close eye on movements of Indonesians taking part in humanitarian missions in the Gaza Strip and trying to weed out those seeking to join jihadist efforts in Syria and Iraq, said Harry Purwanto, the BNPT's deputy for international co-operation.

"It is a complex situation," Purwanto told Khabar. "At this point, we hope that they will return home after they finish with their mission helping the victims in Gaza.

"We have learned from the prior case of Afghan combatants back in 1999, and we should anticipate this happening."

Reader Comments
CLICK HERE to Add a Comment
    • malik abdul azis
      August 20, 2014 @ 12:08:01AM
    • Pardon me, Islam to me is against terrorism so the country of Indonesia should not act like Israel.
    • taufik masrur
      August 18, 2014 @ 02:08:21AM
    • Allah Himself is Gracious and Merciful, how can His creatures be so anarchistic?
    • abdillah
      August 20, 2014 @ 08:08:26AM
    • What does that mean?
    • kundil
      August 18, 2014 @ 01:08:10AM
    • Continue with your fight.
    • armia
      August 17, 2014 @ 08:08:30AM
    • Islam is against terrorism.
    • Muchlis
      August 14, 2014 @ 10:08:23PM
    • Which Indonesian people?
    • ny jubaedilah
      August 14, 2014 @ 10:08:01AM
    • Jihad in Islam is permitted as long as it is not through imposition and violence.
    • yusuff
      August 14, 2014 @ 07:08:02AM
    • Don't just make the state Islamic, but the people have to exemplify the true Islam.
    • Brewek Browok
      August 12, 2014 @ 04:08:00AM
    • People want to jihad but they are hindered. The infidels are afraid of Islamic unity. Allah is great!
    • sugio sudomo
      August 18, 2014 @ 09:08:07AM
    • Going off to jihad is all well and good as long as they die there, as long as they won't bother the government to return their corpses to Indonesia..
    • cah lontong
      August 9, 2014 @ 01:08:19PM
    • A concept of the Caliphate, but which kind?
    • jaya.supriatna
      August 7, 2014 @ 03:08:34AM
    • Islam is a religion that loves all people.
    • yuyun sudrajat
      August 6, 2014 @ 04:08:41AM
    • Be careful.
    • ijada wijaya
      August 6, 2014 @ 03:08:11AM
    • Kompas is a reputable media, their news have been credible since I was young. I am now elderly, my hope is that it continues its work, no retreat. God bless.
    • Dian Santosa
      August 5, 2014 @ 09:08:18AM
    • ISIS, ISIL or similar social organizations should not be allowed to live in the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia. Let us unite, people of the Pancasila.
    • Anto
      August 3, 2014 @ 07:08:08PM
    • Islam is a religion that is a blessing for all creations.
    • Jambezh
      August 1, 2014 @ 02:08:22PM
    • That is clear.
    • cak lontong
      July 30, 2014 @ 08:07:48AM
    • Abu Bakar Baasyir is the best.

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