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In Indonesia, Jihad Video Raises Concern

  • Fatiyah Wardah

FILE - Militants who claim that they are ready depart to fight the war in Syria, perform martial art techniques during a show of force in Solo, Central Java, Indonesia.

FILE - Militants who claim that they are ready depart to fight the war in Syria, perform martial art techniques during a show of force in Solo, Central Java, Indonesia.

A recent video calling on Indonesians to join the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has sparked concern in Indonesia, where officials and experts are trying to raise public awareness to counter the jihad recruitment.

In the eight-minute YouTube video, a man named Abu Muhammad al-Indonesi makes an impassioned speech in Indonesian, saying it is an obligation mandated by Allah for Muslims to participate in the fight in Iraq and Syria.

An Indonesian National Police spokesperson, Senior Commander Agus Rianto, warned the public Friday not to be duped by such material.

“People have to be cautious about certain websites and blogs because those can be made by anyone, from anywhere and for any purpose. People also need to be cautious about online invitations or information that cannot be verified. We are also coordinating with the communications ministry to check these videos," said Rianto.

National Counterterrorism Agency (BNPT) head Ansyaad Mbai said recently convicted terrorist Abu Bakar Ba’asyir and his network had been actively helping ISIL by seeking donations and recruiting Indonesian fighters for several months.

Ba’asyir is currently serving a 15 year sentence for his involvement in a militant training camp.

Terrorism expert Hasibullah Satrawi says Indonesia needs to create a narrative to counter the arguments of ISIL supporters on social media.

“This proves that those militants see Indonesia as a market for ideologies, including extremism. We can see it from the language used in the video, the people in it. They used Indonesians and made it in Indonesian, therefore this was made specifically for Indonesians particularly ISIS sympathizers to join them," said Satrawi.

The Communication and Information Ministry have not urged YouTube to remove the video and the police say they have no power to ban it. Indonesia's two largest Islamic organizations, Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) and Muhammadiyah, have denounced the ISIL video.

This report was produced in collaboration with the VOA Indonesian service.

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