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Indonesia Blocks 22 Websites to Combat Islamic Radicalism

FILE - A Sept. 2014 photo shows protesters holding posters during a rally against the Islamic State group, in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Indonesia says it has blocked 22 websites allegedly used to spread Islamic radicalism.

The blockage was requested recently by the National Agency for Combating Terrorism (BNPT).

At a hearing before parliament in Jakarta, BNPT head Saud Usman said several criteria are used in the decision to block a website, including urging society to conduct a jihad with the Islamic State in Syria or other countries.

“What is needed now is to look for preventive measures on how to nullify persuasions in articles written on a website that maneuver people to do “jihad” in the context of terrorist acts," he said. But the deputy chairman of the parliament committee that oversees defense and foreign affairs, Hanafi Rais, warned the government to act carefully.

"The Ministry of Communication and Information should be more careful and more thorough lest the government, through the ministry, would be labeled as Islamophobic. Thus, before it’s too late the decision should be reviewed," he said.

Meanwhile, a recent survey by Setara Institute found many Indonesian youth are vulnerable to Islamic State influence.

According to the survey of 684 students in Jakarta and Bandung, nearly 7 percent of respondents agree with the Islamic State's ideology.

Indonesia has been waging a high-profile campaign to combat Islamic State recruitment.

Dozens of Indonesians are believed to have joined the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq. Indonesia has said it is planning to revoke the citizenships of those who have joined the group.

Officials say the radical group contradicts Indonesia’s pluralist state ideology, which is called Pancasila.

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