Indonesian authorities Monday (August 4th) announced a ban on the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria ( ISIS ), and vowed to go after citizens either signing up with the militant group or supporting its cause, national media reported.
"The government bans ISIS from developing in Indonesia, because it goes against the ideology of Pancasila , the unitary Indonesian nation-state and pluralism," Djoko Suyanto, co-ordinating minister for political, legal and security affairs, told a Monday news conference at the president's office, according to the Jakarta Globe.
"Every attempt to promote ISIS should be prevented. Indonesia should not be the place to spread [this ideology]."
The ban follows the July 23rd YouTube posting of an ISIS propaganda video targeting an Indonesian audience. In it, a man identified as Abu Muhammad al-Indonesi rants in Bahasa and calls on his countrymen to join ISIS's fight to establish a Middle Eastern caliphate .
The black-clad al-Indonesi, whom Indonesian authorities identified as "B.", appears alongside seven other jihadists in military fatigues toting weapons. Local media named him as wanted Indonesian terrorist Bahrumsyah.
He calls on fellow Indonesians to leave their wives and children and join the fight to "liberate the lands of the Muslims" as well as swear allegiance to ISIS and its commander, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi .
Though not evident when and where the video was shot, ISIS's propaganda wing al-Hayat Media Centre apparently produced and disseminated it.
Respected Indonesian religious figures have ripped the video, saying it stokes hatred and violence among people. They also say it makes ISIS appear more influential than it actually is.
"I encourage every Muslim to stay away from ISIS. The organisation is using violence for their political purposes. ISIS has introduced a new caliphate. It is a new phenomenon in the Middle East, but I don't think it is relevant here in Indonesia,"Hasyim Muzadi, former head of Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), told Khabar Southeast Asia.
Syafi'i Maarif, founder of the Maarif Institute and a former leader of Muhammadiyah , another leading Muslim organisation, described the video as misleading.
"ISIS does not have as much power as it looks like in the media. After all, ISIS is only a small group with a small number of followers," he told Khabar.
"We should not worry about the video; we should condemn it. It is wrong. Most Indonesians agree to not accept a caliphate and its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi," Syafi'i added.
Betraying their country
Citizens who support ISIS could be betraying their country by violating the Indonesian constitution, National Counterterrorism Agency (BNPT) chief Ansyaad Mbai warned.
"I hope Indonesian citizens are aware of this. According to the article 23(f) of the Indonesian Citizenship Law, any Indonesian citizen could lose their citizenship if they voluntarily swear an oath to a foreign nation," he told Khabar, adding ISIS is considered as such by Indonesian authorities.
Muhammad Chairul Basyar, secretary-general of the Islamic Student Union (HMI), voiced disdain for the caliphate idea and the violence behind it.
"Indonesians who reside between Sabang and Merauke, we weren't born in Iraq or Syria," the Jakarta Globe quoted him as saying. "In our homeland, people of all backgrounds enjoy religious freedom. Citizens who act as though they don't live in Indonesia-- as though they are foreigners in their own homeland-- disgust us."