Indonesia vows to combat ISIL with moderate Islam

Minister says violence not the answer as police hunt continues for ISIL militants in mountains of Indonesia's north

Indonesia vows to combat ISIL with moderate Islam

World Bulletin / News Desk

Indonesia says it has chosen a cultural and religious "soft" approach to countering radical groups such as ISIL and its local affiliates rather than resorting to violent crackdowns.

Security Coordinating Minister Luhut Binsar Panjaitan told a press conference on the resort island of Bali on Thursday that violence -- as carried out by the United States in the Middle East and Afghanistan -- had proven unsuccessful and even created new problems.

"The Indonesian government has a different attitude. We promote religious and cultural approaches to addressing ISIL," said Panjaitan as quoted on the Home Ministry official website.

He added that the government -- in collaboration with religious scholars -- will emphasize that Islam is peaceful and non-violent.

"We want all elements of society [to understand] that Islam is a peaceful religion," Panjaitan said, highlighting that Islam and ISIL are two different things.

The approach comes on the back of a decision by the Indonesian Ulama Council earlier this month to send 50,000 moderate clerics to spread peaceful Islam in various parts of the country.

Panjaitan added that the government continues to coordinate with other stakeholders to refute ISIL's extreme understanding and defuse possible security threats.

Meanwhile, a video threat -- supposedly voiced by the country's most-wanted terrorist, Santoso -- has led police to tighten security at airports, the presidential palace, foreign embassies and shopping centers across the country.

Santoso, also known as Abu Wardah, has pledged allegiance to ISIL, and leads the East Indonesia Mujahideen, which has taken responsibility for the killing of several police officers.

The nine-minute message -- claiming there would be attacks on Jakarta police headquarters and the palace -- spread through social media this weekend. 

Chief of Police Badrodin Haiti was quoted by as saying Thursday: "We have not examined [the video] in a laboratory, but whatever it is, true or not, it is a warning for us to raise awareness."

Since the beginning of October, police have been tracking the group in the mountains of Central Sulawesi in Indonesia's north.

Haiti said they had detected the hiding place of Santoso -- whom he suspects is the leader of all ISIL factions in the country.

"But it is not easy to catch them. The search area is in the mountains," he added.

Police say they are also monitoring around 70 militants who have returned to the country after joining the war in Syria.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 26 Kasım 2015, 15:35