The chorus of Indonesians – including outgoing President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono – condemning the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is growing stronger, especially after massive violence committed by the extremist group against fellow Muslims and the recent gruesome behading of an American journalist.
"ISIS is becoming out of control. …We do not tolerate it. We forbid ISIS in Indonesia. Indonesia is not an Islamic state. We respect all religions," Yudhoyono told The Australian on August 21st.
He added that ISIS's slaughter and violent actions are embarrassing Muslim countries.
Meanwhile, National Counterterrorism Agency (BNPT) chairman Ansyaad Mbai said Monday (August 25th) Indonesia planned to punish ISIS and its supporters to the fullest extent of its laws, but called on the international community for support.
"To do so, we need support from all related stakeholders especially from countries where the terrorist group is operating," Ansyaad said, according to the Jakarta Globe. "To enforce the law, we need accurate and valid evidence from Iraq and Syria" about Indonesian citizens who are there, he said.
Ansyaad said 34 jihadists who flew to Iraq and Syria were identified as terrorists formerly imprisoned in Indonesia.
Denouncement from religious leaders
Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) leader Din Syamsuddin told Khabar Southeast Asia his organisation does not support ISIS and encourages all Indonesian Muslims to avoid ISIS's recruitment efforts.
"ISIS is humiliating themselves," he told Khabar. "They aren't following Muhammad's teachings."
He added each person has the responsibility to respond with serious conviction so there is a united front condemning ISIS's actions. MUI is co-ordinating with government, police and scholars from Islamic organisations, Din said.
He explained the reason a fatwa banning ISIS has not been issued is because they are only issued when something is unclear in the Qur'an.
"With ISIS, everything is already clear. Their actions are prohibited," he said.
Protecting impressionable youth
Central Jakarta cleric Ahmad Fatih told Khabar ISIS is dangerous because their ideas become "contagious" when an Islamic leader involved with the organisation influences his students.
"I mention this because most of our students will do whatever the cleric says," Ahmad said. "Therefore, if the cleric supports ISIS, the whole class will also support ISIS."
He said Muslim leaders and clerics should be among the first to participate in government training on how to counter ISIS's ideology and help Indonesians disengage from the group.
University of Atmajaya international relations student Puspita Dewi told Khabar ISIS and terrorism are synonymous.
"I think the world should be reacting faster to stop them before they get bigger. At some point, the world must also cut any funding sources that ISIS may have," she said. "Otherwise, they can be stronger and stronger, getting support from jihadists from all over the world."
Din said ISIS's ideology is not Islam and called the group worse than terrorists.
"I hope Muslims and non-Muslim are united to fight and to prevent the spread of wrong ideology," the MUI leader said. "ISIS is dangerous not only for Indonesia but for all human beings."