11/22/2018, 00.00
INDONESIA
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Civil servants radicalised at pro-terror mosques

Imams at some 41 places of worship in one Jakarta neighbourhood alone were preaching extremism. Some 17 clerics expressed support or sympathy for the Islamic State group and encouraged parishioners to fight for it in Syria and the Philippines. The authorities also found worrying signs of radicalism at seven university campuses.

Jakarta (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Dozens of Indonesian mosques that cater to government workers are spreading radicalism and calling for violence against non-Muslims, this according to the country's main intelligence agency, Badan Intelijen Negara (BIN).

The findings come six months after the city of Surabaya (East Java) was rocked by a wave of deadly suicide bombings at three churches.

BIN on Monday announced that it had probed about a thousand mosques across the country since July and found that imams at some 41 places of worship in one Jakarta neighbourhood alone were preaching extremism to worshippers – mostly civil servants who work at nearby government ministries.

The agency found that 17 clerics expressed support or sympathy for the Islamic State (IS) group and encouraged parishioners to fight for it in Syria and Marawi, the Philippine city overrun by Islamist fighters last year.

Some imams urged their followers to commit acts of violence on IS’s behalf. The latter spews hatred against minority religions and has claimed responsibility for the Surabaya attack.

The agency did not release details about what it found at hundreds of other mosques covered by its probe; however, it noted worrying signs of radicalism at seven university campuses, BIN spokesman Wawan Purwanto said.

After the latest anti-Christian attacks, the Indonesian parliament adopted anti-terrorism legislation to give the authorities more powers to detain suspects.

Nevertheless, Purwanto said that his agency would take a soft approach to dealing with radical imams by trying to convince them to spread a more peaceful message.

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