SINGAPORE — The Indonesian government remains concerned about the threat posed by the self-described Islamic State, despite the group’s recent territorial losses in Iraq and Syria including the ceding of the key city of Ramadi to the Iraqi army in late December. “Indonesia is very vulnerable,” said Dewi Fortuna Anwar, an adviser to Indonesian Vice President Jusuf Kalla, airing Jakarta’s fears that Indonesian members of IS could return home to carry out terrorist attacks. “We are exploring the role played by religious leaders to develop counter narratives,” Anwar said, discussing the ideological appeal of the extremist group to hundreds of Indonesians thought to have traveled to Iraq and Syria in recent years. Anwar was speaking in Singapore at a regional forum organized by the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies.
JAKARTA – On July 3 last year, The Jakarta Post published a cartoon critical of the Islamic State (IS) militant group. The first reaction to the cartoon surfaced only the week after the publication, when a group called the Jakarta Muslim Preachers Corps filed a police complaint calling the cartoon blasphemous. But how would Indonesia’s roughly 200 million Muslims react to a local newspaper running some of Charlie Hebdo’s output? “Even though the majority of Indonesian Muslims are moderate, some can be offended by this caricature,” said Taufik Abdullah, a prominent scholar of Islam and a member of the Indonesian Academy of Sciences.