East Java is a critical area for militant recruitment, and local police are stepping up security to staunch the growing influence of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in the region.
"The track record of East Java as a hotbed of terrorism cannot be overlooked," former jihadist Ali Fauzi told Tempo September 4th on the sidelines of a Madiun event announcing a new provincial regulation banning the group. "Police and army alone are not going to be able to prevent the spread of ISIS ideology in East Java."
He added several East Java natives left in July for the Middle East to join ISIS. Local officials encourage all citizens to be aware of ISIS's growth in the region.
"We monitor closely each district, sub-district and village. Of course we are expecting help from the community as well. They are our closest eyes," Madiun Mayor Muhtarom told Khabar Southeast Asia.
In August police arrested six alleged radical militants connected to wanted Indonesian terrorist Santoso, all training to go to the Middle East, Madiun police chief Rahmad Setyadi said.
"These radicals were not only conducting recruitment but also physical training in the forest," Rahmad told local leaders in Wungu district.
"The six people were ready to go to the Middle East. Therefore, we will continue to monitor their followers as well. We note that the six people are only a part of the group," he told Khabar. "The real number may be larger. Madiun is in a fragile state with the growing number of radical militants.
"We are aware of our history, and therefore we are monitoring the spread of ISIS," he added.
Contradictory with Islam
Muhammad Shodiq, chairman of the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) in Madiun, said Muslims should not follow ISIS.
"They are violent and their actions are strongly contradictory with Islam . We all should remember that Islam came to Indonesia peacefully and, therefore, it was well accepted in Indonesia. With the current situation regarding ISIS, I encourage all parents to pay close attention to their children," he told Khabar.
Local religious leader Abdullah Qodir Jaelani said ISIS's ideology is not realistic and all Islamic organisations have agreed that Indonesia is not an Islamic state.
"It is clearly stated in ourfive philosophies, Pancasila. Therefore, ISIS is officially banned in Indonesia. More importantly, they are only creating instability. Do not taint the place we love with violence," he told Khabar.