Religious leaders gather in Jakarta to express their rejection over the existence of ISIS in Indonesia (Photo by Ryan Dagur)
The Indonesian government has officially banned the teachings of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) following the emergence of a YouTube video featuring an Indonesian man calling on local Muslims to join the militant movement.
Djoko Suyanto, Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs, held a press conference on Monday after meeting President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.
“The ISIS teachings are not a religious issue,” he said. “The government and the state reject and ban ISIS teachings from growing in Indonesia."
“Every effort taken to expand the ISIS’ teachings must be prevented. Indonesia must not be a place to spread such teachings,” Suyanto said.
He added that the government would take steps such as preventing parties from establishing ISIS representatives and calling on the Ministry of Religious Affairs and religious leaders to raise public awareness about the perils of the group’s teachings.
The militant group, which recently changed its name to the Islamic State (IS), has in recent months gained considerable control over major portions of Iraq and Syria. It preaches an extreme version of Wahabi Islam, and has carried out numerous campaigns targeting in particular Christians and Shia Muslims. In February 2014, al-Qaeda cut ties with the group, reportedly citing its brutality.
Suyanto made an additional call on Indonesia’s communications ministry to block the spread of ISIS teachings through social media. The National Police and the National Counterterrorism Agency (BNPT) would additionally serve as “a clearing house” for all who travel to the Middle East and South Asia.
Up until Tuesday, however, the video entitled Join the Ranks could still be viewed on YouTube.
Religious leaders including Jalaluddin Rakhmat from the Shia-linked organization -- the Indonesian Ahlul Bait Association – have condemned the movement.
“We strongly reject its existence and followers in Indonesia,” he said at a press conference in Jakarta.
The BNPT chief, Ansyaad Mbai, told ucanews.com there were about 30 Indonesians fighting in Iraq.
“Most are former terrorism prisoners,” he said.