53 Indonesian nationals joined IS movement, says ambassador
The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | World | Fri, September 05 2014, 12:19 PM
The Iraqi Ambassador to Indonesia, Abdullah Hasan Salih, has urged Indonesian people to not go to Iraq to join the Islamic State (IS) movement, as dozens of Indonesians are currently joining the radical Islamic group to fight against Iraq’s forces.
“According to information we have obtained from our government, there are 53 Indonesians who have entered Iraq and it is probable that three of the total have died,” said Salih, as quoted by kompas.com in Jakarta on Wednesday.
Salih said any Indonesian people who were joining the IS organization would be considered to have participated in a movement to destroy Iraq. There was also no guarantee that they could return back to Indonesia alive.
“Thus, we urge Indonesian youths and other young people from countries across the world to see us as a sovereign country,” he said.
“We consider anyone who supports an organization that fights against our country as supporting the destruction of our country,” he went on.
IS has taken over many regions in northern Iraq since the beginning of June and declared the establishment of an Islamic caliphate whose area includes northern Syria.
Salih said currently, IS controlled 41 percent of Iraq.
Figures presented in the Iraqi government’s official data on the involvement of Indonesian citizens joining IS were bigger than the ones reported by the National Counterterrorism Agency (BNPT) in August.
In a report published on BNPT’s official website, bnpt.go.id, BNPT head Ansyaad Mbaai said 34 former terrorists in Indonesia had joined IS.
To ward off greater involvement by Indonesian citizens in the IS group, Salih said the Iraqi embassy in Jakarta would not issue visas for anyone who wished to go to Iraq without a clear purpose. Visas would be provided only for Indonesian officials and professionals who worked in the country.
Salih said Indonesia was one of 89 countries that had citizens joining IS in Iraq. He said he believed that Indonesia could play a crucial role in helping Iraq to fight against the IS movement.
“Indonesia has a great international influence and is trusted because of its effective diplomacy in fighting radicalism.” (dyl/ebf