Jakarta. The Indonesian government on Monday officially banned the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, saying the militant outfit should not be allowed to spread its teachings in the archipelago.
“The government bans ISIS from developing in Indonesia, because it goes against the ideology of Pancasila, the unitary Indonesian nation-state and pluralism,” Djoko Suyanto, coordinating minister for political, legal and security affairs, said during a press conference at the president’s office on Monday. “Every attempt to promote ISIS should be prevented, Indonesia should not be the place to spread [this ideology].”
The announcement came after a limited cabinet meeting about ISIS led by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.
Djoko was accompanied by high-ranking officials when declaring the ban, including Religious Affairs Minister Lukman Hakim Saifuddin, Foreign Affairs Minister Marty Natalegawa, National Intelligence Agency (BIN) chief Marciano Norman, Justice and Human Rights Minister Amir Syamsuddin, military chief Gen. Moeldoko and Gen. Sutarman, the chief of National Police.
“The activities of ISIS and now IS [Islamic State, as the movement officially calls itself] have since the beginning been monitored by some ministries, [including] the Religious Affairs Ministry, the Foreign Affairs Ministry, and the National Police,” Djoko said.
He said that ISIS should not be understood as a religious movement, but as an ideology that runs counter to Indonesia’s state ideology of Pancasila. The National Police and the National Counterterrorism Agency (BNPT), Djoko added, would lead the law enforcement effort against ISIS activities in Indonesia.
The minister also said that regardless of the situation in the Middle East, support from Indonesia should be in the form of humanitarian aid and diplomacy, not by sending people to fight, which would only make matters worse. “Let’s not get influenced, and not be easily provoked to join ISIS,” Djoko said.
The government also said it would be monitoring Indonesians who plan to travel to countries in the Middle East and South Asia where there is armed conflict, to ensure they will not be joining or working for ISIS. “The Foreign Affairs Ministry will take the lead, the National Police and the BNPT will be the clearing house to monitor Indonesian citizens who travel to the Middle East, South Asia and other conflict regions,” Djoko said.