Indonesia’s president dismissed a call to arms to Indonesians by the Islamic State rebels in the Middle East Friday, saying the group’s version of Islam is heretical.
IS’s attempt to spread its ideology “is a threat to our identity,” Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono told parliament ahead of Independence Day.
“Leaders across the country must take firm action to deal with this challenge,” he said. “Indonesia is a God-believing, but not religion-based nation.”
The Islamic State group has taken control of large parts of Syria and Iraq, and has been accused of atrocities against Shia Muslims and the Yazidi, a Kurdish religious community in Iraq.
A video on YouTube.com shows an Indonesian fighter making an mpassioned appeal for compatriots to join the cause abroad.
The video has sparked debates in Indonesia on how to counter the group’s recruitment attempts.
Yudhoyono said Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim-majority nation, is a place where “Islam, democracy and modernity can flourish together.”
“We can show to the world that a diverse nation like us can be harmonious,” he said.
Between 50 and 200 Indonesians are thought to have travelled to Syria to fight with the Islamic State and other rebel groups, US-based think tank Soufan Group said in a report released Tuesday.
Malaysia, the Philippines and Singapore have also expressed concern that radicals from their respective countries could fight in the Middle East and bring their experience back home to domestic conflicts, the report said. SAPA