Indonesia can rise above the threat posed by the banned Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) by exemplifying a nation that embodies Islam at is best, government officials say.
"Muslims around the world use Indonesia as a role model because of its ability to maintain unity with its diversity," Deputy Foreign Minister Dino Patti Djalal said September 4th, The Jakarta Post reported. "They need role models to follow and Muslims in Indonesia can become the reference."
Deputy Minister of Religious Affairs Nasaruddin Umar expressed the hope that the rest of the world would see Muslim-majority Indonesia as a centre of Islamic civilisation.
"We need to make sure that the world knows that the true teachings and practices of Islam are not violent. We can do this with small entities. For example, starting with Islamic institutions like pesantrens," he told Khabar Southeast Asia.
Nasaruddin described ISIS as "our common enemy".
"Their behaviour is not in accordance with any of Islam's teachings," he said on the sidelines of the fifth national Qur'an reading competition in Jambi. "They are not grateful to God. Their existence does not benefit Indonesians – from an economic, security and political standpoint."
Meanwhile, other elements of Indonesian society continued to unite in condemning violence perpetrated by ISIS in Iraq and Syria.
Muslim organisation leaders and journalists were among those who spoke out against ISIS's mass executions of captured prisoners, as well as its videotaped beheadings of American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff.
"Their actions are against humanity and religion. The violence that they have conducted, beheading the two American journalists, was very cruel. We hope Indonesian Muslims will seriously consider this evidence before they join this violent organisation," Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) chairman Din Syamsuddin told Khabar.
ISIS threatens all countries, Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) Chairman Said Aqil Siradj said.
"ISIS is condemned by God and by Islam. Violent behaviour is not justified by Islam," he told Khabar. "There is no religion in violence; there is no violence in religion. No religions threaten to kill under the name of God."
"Stop Slaughtering People"
Rakyat Merdeka Online journalists staged an anti-ISIS rally September 5th outside the Hotel Indonesia in Jakarta, Kompas reported.
The demonstrators held up signs that proclaimed "ISIS is not Islam's Voice" and "ISIS, Stop Slaughtering People", among other slogans.
"We are one of them," said Mahadi Irawan, a journalist at the rally, alluding to his two murdered colleagues.
"The killing is not only against American journalists but the world's journalists."
Journalists are "just delivering the facts for people", he said. "We will continue to do so, delivering the fact that ISIS is a violent organisation."
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