Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Extremist Threat in Moderate Indonesia


The growth of Islamic State’s ideology and teachings in many parts of Indonesia shows that the government’s efforts to contain and eradicate radicalism within the country have failed.

Despite the arrest of thousands of terror suspects, a slew of younger successors continues to emerge, and like a festering infection spreading the Islamic caliphate’s tenets of hate. This shows that repressive acts — arrests, detention and jailing — are not enough to stop extremism.

Also, while we must commend efforts to cut sources of funding to and from militant groups in Indonesia, and to shut down the flow of information between these groups through the Internet, they only scrape the surface of the problem.

Something fundamental must be done urgently. We must quickly root out any extremist ideology and ensure none take hold of our people’s minds.

So far, ruling Indonesian elites have been divided on ways to tackle the long-standing problem. While some have reiterated the need for a tougher stance against militant religious groups by dissolving and banning them, many others chose to maintain them as a necessary evil — a political tool to gain support from Muslim voters.

While we would like to believe that this is a misguided move by our politicians, as a majority of Indonesians practice a non-extreme form of Islam, the fact that such a dangerous practice continues to be widely adopted could be a warning that, perhaps, our country may not be so moderate after all.

Indonesian authorities, like-minded Muslim elites and activists must quickly address this issue of growing radicalism in our midst by educating the younger generation of its menace, both in public institutions and Islamic boarding schools.

Failing to do so, will see this nation move into a future shattered by religious violence. Globe Jakarta


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