The world’s largest Muslim democracy is ramping up measures to guard against radicalized citizens fighting for ISIS in the Middle East returning home as experienced terrorists. The Financial Times reports:
Indonesia is intensifying its counter-terrorism efforts to combat a possible backlash from Indonesians and other southeast Asians who have joined violent jihadi groups in Syria and Iraq.The government of the world’s biggest Muslim-majority nation has threatened to revoke the citizenship of Indonesians who join the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, known as Isis, after a surge in support for the militant group.
The police have increased their monitoring of those travelling to and from Turkey and other entry points to the Syrian conflict, and officials are working with the country’s leading Muslim organisations to counter pro-Isis propaganda on social media and at mosques.“We have to be prepared for when Indonesians come back from fighting in the Middle East,” said Sri Yunanto, an adviser to Indonesia’s national counter-terrorism agency at a panel discussion in Jakarta on Wednesday.“We have experience [of those who committed terrorist acts in Indonesia] after going to Afghanistan and the Philippines and we don’t want Isis alumni to do the same.”
These measures mark the intensification of a government campaign against ISIS-inspired extremism that was already underway. An estimated 3,000 foreign passport holders are fighting in ISIS’ ranks, and already some have begun to return to their home countries—such as the forty people arrested with arms and explosives in Kosovo yesterday. It remains to be seen if Indonesia’s measures will be sufficient, but one thing is clear: many more governments will have to wrestle with this problem soon.