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ISIL materials still accessible in Indonesia despite ban

Publication Date : 06-08-2014

 

Online content promoting the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL), also known as ISIS, remained accessible Indonesia on Wednesday as the Communications and Information Ministry was seen sluggish in its efforts to block those materials.

The ministry sent a letter on Monday to Internet search engine giant Google, requesting that it block seven ISIL campaign videos on YouTube following a government ban on support for the ISIL movement.

One of the videos, entitled Join the Ranks, features an Indonesian terrorist fugitive, Abu Muhammad al-Indonesi, who called on fellow Indonesian Muslims to join the ISIL’s struggle in Iraq and Syria.

Many were surprised on Tuesday that the videos were still available for the public to view.

The deputy chairman of House of Representatives Commission I overseeing defence and information, TB Hasanuddin, questioned the ministry’s slow response.

Many have also lashed out at Communications and Information Minister Tifatul Sembiring, lambasting him for prioritising the blocking of pornographic rather than terrorism-related content.

The video was finally blocked on Tuesday evening, with the ministry warning that promoting ISIL-related materials could land people in prison.

“Those who upload the video will be charged under Article 28 point 2 of the 2008 Electronic Information and Transactions Law,” ministry’s spokesperson Ismail Cawidu said on Tuesday.

The article stipulates that those who distribute hateful information, tinged with sectarian sentiments or racism, could face a maximum penalty of six years’ imprisonment and a fine of 1 billion rupiah (US$85,482).

In an effort to curb growing domestic support of ISIL, Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Djoko Suyanto said on Monday that Tifatul, a politician from the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) had been given instructions to block “efforts in promoting ISIL through social media, including on YouTube”.

In spite of the directive, the ministry was sluggish in its effort as pro-ISIL articles still can be found on some radical Indonesian-language websites, such as al-mustaqbal.net and shoutussalam.com.

Ismail said the ministry was in talks with relevant agencies to assess pro-ISIL articles on the Internet.

“So far, we’ve only blocked ISIL video content. We are still studying the websites [suspected of supporting ISIL],” he said.

Meanwhile, the National Police warned the public to be cautious over the possible establishment of ISIL branches in their vicinity.

“The 2013 Mass Organizations Law stipulates that all organisations are barred from challenging state ideology Pancasila. We call on everybody not to give room for the proliferation of the ISIL movement, as it promotes violence,” National Police spokesperson Brig. Gen. Boy Rafli Amar said on Tuesday.

Boy also urged individuals who had pledged allegiance to ISIL to leave the group.

Terrorist fugitive Santoso, convicted terrorist and radical preacher Abu Bakar Ba’asyir and some inmates at a prison on Nusakambangan Island near Cilacap, Central Java, have declared their support for ISIL.

In Malang, East Java, a group named Anharul Khilafah reportedly declared its support for ISIL at an event in a mosque in June despite resistance from locals.

To dissuade more locals from joining the rebel group, the East Java administration is drafting a regulation to ban the ISIL movement in the province.

East Java Governor Soekarwo said that the content of the new regulation could be similar to a 2011 bylaw on the total ban of Ahmadiyah sect activities.

The central government, aside from banning the ISIL movement in the country, has also taken steps to prevent Indonesian jihadists from traveling overseas and participating in ISIL’s fight in Iraq and Syria.

Terrorism expert Noor Huda Ismail suggested that the government also needed to take firm action against more than 50 Indonesian militants who had joined ISIL’s ranks.

“[The government] needs to give them a chance at repatriation and rehabilitation. If they decline the offer, their citizenship should be revoked,” he said on Monday.

 

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