07/22/2014, 00.00
INDONESIA
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More than a thousand Indonesian supporters "ready to fight" for ISIS in Syria and Iraq

by Mathias Hariyadi
Supporters took part in an "initiation ceremony" to declare their support for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. For now, police cannot do anything but pledge "not to tolerate any religiously motivated violence."

Jakarta (AsiaNews) - Indonesian security forces "will not remain silent"; they will react to the growing number of supporters for radical Sunni group known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), said Brigadier General Boy Rafli Amar, deputy police spokesman, who responded today to the mass "initiation ceremony" organised last week in Solo (Surakarta, Central Java) by about a thousand ISIS supporters.

"In accordance with the law," General Amar said, "every Indonesian citizen has the right to gather in a public space to express his or her beliefs and opinions, but we shall not tolerate any religiously motivated violence."

Last week, more than a thousand people met at a mosque in Solo Baru (Sukoharjo Regency) to attend a prayer meeting hosted by the Islamic Daulah Support Forum.

After the prayer, those present declared their public support for ISIS, claiming to be ready to go to Iraq and Syria.

Afif Abdul Majid, who organised the meeting, explained that "not all of them agreed to be 'initiated', but at least half have asked to be 'baptised' to support the mission." He added that in the coming weeks such a "baptism" will also be celebrated in Malang (East Java).

Gen Ansyaad Mbai, head of the anti-terrorism desk at the Ministry for Security, Legal and Foreign Affairs, warned that ISIS was drawing sympathisers from Indonesia with scores who have already left the country to fight jihad with Sunni militias in Syria and Iraq for the creation of an Islamic caliphate in the Middle East

Those who came home, the policeman said, founded a similar group in the provinces of Jakarta and East Nusa Tenggara (NTB).

According to officials, at least 30 Indonesians have already left the country to join ISIS, and 56 other people have applied for a visa for Syria.

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