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Indonesian Muslims condemn Marawi militants

Gunmen are terrorists with poor or no understanding of Islamic teachings, they say

Indonesian Muslims condemn Marawi militants

People hold up banners during a prayer vigil held after bomb attacks by Islamic militants in Jakarta, in this Jan. 14, 2016 file photo. (ucanews.com photo)

Muslims from across Indonesia have condemned the ongoing siege sparked last month by so-called Islamic State (IS)-linked gunmen in Mindanao's Marawi City in the southern Philippines, saying it goes against all Islamic teachings.

Gunmen from the local Maute terror group attacked the city on May 23, burning a Catholic church and a Protestant school.

Some 300,000 people have fled the city since fighting between security forces and the terrorist gunmen erupted.

According to the Philippine military, at least 242 gunmen have been killed. The fighting has also resulted in the deaths of 56 soldiers, three policemen, and 26 civilians. In addition, at least 200 soldiers were reported wounded.

"I do not support the terror attack. The terrorist gunmen claim to have links with the IS group, which launches terror attacks in the name of Islam. I object to this group claiming to be Islamic as what they do is totally against the Quran and Hadith," said Adhitya Wibawa, a 38-year-old from South Tangerang, near Jakarta on June 20.

"Islam is a religion which promotes rahmatan lil alamin (a blessing for the universe). There is no justification for any violence. Muslims are not allowed to kill innocent people even if there is a war," he said.

Another Muslim from North Jakarta, Karnali Faisal, expressed a deep concern about the conflict in the Mindanao saying, "it is not about Islam."

"Whoever the perpetrators are, any terror attack can never be right," he said.

Taufik, a three-wheel taxi driver from Brebes, Central Java, said the militants misunderstand Islamic teachings.

"What they do is not jihad, because it victimizes innocent people. It would be very wrong if I should side with them," he said, adding that Islam preaches peace.

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Similarly, Hermawan from Depok, West Java, refused to see the terror attack as jihad. "Jihad is allowed if there is a war. But there is no war in Marawi City. So I disagree with what they do," he said.

Farida from Banda Aceh questioned the Marawi militants' goal. "What do they want to achieve?" she asked. "I think the attack has a purely political motive."

All called on the governments in both countries to improve Islamic religious education so that all Muslims can have a better understanding about Islamic teachings and make vulnerable people less susceptible to brainwashing by radical elements.

"Muslims need to build good communication with people from different religions as well," North Jakarta resident Faisal said.

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