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40 per cent of Indonesian university students targeted by radical religious ideology, report says

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sieas
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2018-05-11 15:34
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By Iffah Nur Arifah and Erwin Renaldi

Posted yesterday at 12:10pm

PHOTO: Almost 40 per cent of university students in Indonesia are exposed to religious radical thinking. (ABC Radio Australia, Laban Laisila)

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Indonesian universities are being targeted by conservative religious ideology across the country, according to the latest report by Indonesia's State Intelligence Agency.

Key points:
  • 1 in 4 university students in favour of jihad establishing an Islamic caliphate

  • Radical groups targeting young people to spread radical ideology in the long run

  • Some high school students taking extracurricular activities in Islamic studies ready to be part of jihad


Last month, Indonesian national intelligence chief Budi Gunawan said in a lecture that 39 per cent of university students in Indonesia had been exposed to radical groups.

"The campus environment has become the target of radical groups trying to mobilise new terrorists," Mr Gunawan said.

Mr Gunawan said 15 Indonesian provinces were classified as high-risk areas and they were now closely monitoring three Indonesian universities.

The intelligence report also finds that 24 per cent of university students and 23.3 per cent of high school students in Indonesia are in favour of supporting jihad to establish an Islamic "caliphate".

The findings have been supported by previous research by other institutions in the country.

The Wahid Foundation, founded by former Indonesian president and Muslim scholar KH Abdurrahman Wahid, did a study on radicalisation in 2017.

It found nearly 60 per cent of high school students who were taking extracurricular activities in Islamic studies said they ready to be part of jihad even if violence was involved.

Radicals seek young people to spread ideology

PHOTO: Indonesia's Aceh province is famous for enforcing a strict Islamic criminal code. (Supplied, File)

Bonar Tigor Naipospos, deputy director of the SETARA Institute for Democracy and Peace, said the findings emphasised how vulnerable students in Indonesia were to radicalism.

"Indonesia is experiencing demographic bonuses [the opposite of an aging population] where the largest group of the population is between 16 to 35 years old," Mr Naipospos told the ABC.

"The radical groups consider young people as a potential group who can spread radical ideology for them in the long run."

He added that higher education institutions should be more proactive in examining whether there were activities that led to radical behaviour.

For example, they could monitor student forums and pay attention to flyers distributed on campuses, he said.

PHOTO: Muhammad Fatih Akmal says that he knows of classmates with radicalised thinking. (Supplied: pribadi)

Muhammad Fatih Akmal, a student of the Syarif Hidayatullah State Islamic University in Jakarta, said he knew some of his fellow classmates had extreme thinking.

"There was a lecture about interpreting the Koran by western methods, but they rejected attending the class," he said.

"For them, the Koran should only be interpreted and explained by Middle Eastern scholars."

He said the same students were also attending forums held by Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia, which is now considered an extremist organisation and had its legal status revoked by the Government.

PHOTO: Higher education institutions could monitor student forums and pay attention to flyers distributed on campuses. (Pexels.com)

Topics: university-and-further-educationreligion-and-beliefscommunity-and-societyislamindonesiaasia

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-05-08/university-students-in-indonesia-exposed-to-radical-groups/9734874