Indonesia hunts ISIS pitchman, video collaborators

The talking head in ISIS's propaganda video, Bahrumsyah (a.k.a. Abu Muhammad al-Indonesi), has ties to the Eastern Indonesia Mujahideen (MIT) and its leader, Santoso.

By Alisha Nurhayati for Khabar Southeast Asia in Jakarta

August 13, 2014
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The lone speaker in an Islamic State in Iraq and Syria ( ISIS ) propaganda video that targets an Indonesian audience is a terrorist linked to Santoso, the country's most notorious outlaw, officials said.

  • Wanted Indonesian terrorist Bahrumsyah, alias Abu Muhammad al-Indonesi and collaborators, appear in an ISIS propaganda video published online in late July. [YouTube]

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Authorities are pursing the main man in the video: an Indonesian identified as Abu Muhammad al-Indonesi, but whose real name is Bahrumsyah, and the group of seven men silently appearing alongside him, according to National Police spokesman Ronny F. Sompie.

"He is on the list of the most wanted terrorists," Ronny told Khabar Southeast Asia. "He claimed to be part of the Santoso network, which mostly operates in Eastern Indonesia."

Santoso, commander of the Eastern Indonesia Mujahideen (MIT), is at large and believed to be operating out of the jungles of Central Sulawesi .

The whereabouts of Bahrumsyah and the others in the video are unknown. It remains unclear if the video was filmed in Indonesia or in another country. The ISIS video , produced by the Middle Eastern militant group's propaganda wing al-Hayat Media Centre, was posted on YouTube on July 23rd.

In the Bahasa-language video which runs over eight minutes, the black-clad Bahrumsyah calls on Indonesians to join the ISIS cause of establishing a " caliphate " in parts of Syria and Iraq under its control.

On August 4th, the Indonesian government banned ISIS and announced it was blocking websites disseminating ISIS propaganda and related videos. Indonesian Minister of Communication and Information Tifatul Sembiring said the government had since blocked 27 such videos.

"This decision was made to reduce anxiety in society," Tifatul told Khabar, adding the government would continue to monitor social media in order to filter out more ISIS propaganda.

"We know that they will not stop, but we will do everything we can to ensure that the videos do not trigger violence in Indonesia," he said.

Indonesians are reacting positively to the governmental move to shut down ISIS's recruitment efforts in the archipelago.

"I think the government has done the right thing," Maruf Amin, deputy chairman of the influentialIndonesia Ulema Council (MUI), told Khabar.

"For those who have an interest in joining or supporting ISIS, I encourage you to rethink your decision. They (ISIS) are not conducting acts consistent with good teachings of Islam. Nothing in our Qur'an allows any violence among Muslims and non-Muslims ."

ISIS propaganda is misleading, he added, urging Indonesians to reject the group's call for violent jihad .

"They are only following their desire to build an Islamic state, but the way they are doing it is inappropriate," Maruf said." Our country has the largest Muslim population, but we live in a good democratic system and we avoid violence. So please keep the peace among your family and community."

Reader Comments
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    • aan
      September 17, 2014 @ 08:09:59AM
    • I am really amazed.
    • AULA
      August 28, 2014 @ 09:08:18PM
    • Defending Islam does not mean doing so by oppressing other peoples. Even the Prophet established a caliphate full of tolerance.
    • Asmaul Rojab
      August 26, 2014 @ 10:08:07PM
    • Islam does not need to fly its flag.
    • jelanie
      August 25, 2014 @ 08:08:15AM
    • ISIL would be good if the group carried out jihad in Palestine! Also, war is permitted when you are fighting the Jews.
    • andremaulana
      August 23, 2014 @ 07:08:45AM
    • Islam does not teach violence towards others. ISIS is not a legitimate religion, kill them.
    • mujahid indonesia
      August 19, 2014 @ 02:08:23PM
    • So Islam is not allowed to defend Islam? You would see Muslims slaughtered by the US and Jews? Long live ISIS, long live ISIL, Allah is great.
    • ulfa taswin
      August 13, 2014 @ 04:08:34AM
    • this article provide good information, tq

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