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A Middle East Expert: ISIS Is Constricted

It was suspected that bomb and gun attacks on Jalan MH Thamrin, Jakarta on Thursday (14/1) were related to Islamic State (IS), also known as ISIS. The suspects of the attacks, leaving seven dead people, were assumed that they would send a message to government of Indonesia. An International Relations lecturer as well as an expert on Middle-East issues of Universitas Muhammadiyah Yogyakarta (UMY) Dr. Sidik Jatmika, S.IP., M.Si., argued that the suspects would like to deliver a political message to government. “The message was conveyed through violence in a strategic place, and the victims were from a number of different countries,” he stated.

He inserted, “The terrorism aimed at creating frightening feeling so that public will have a panic attack. That is what the terrorists commonly undertake.”

Sidik mentioned that the message of the attack is that ISIS thought that coining a Muslim country is getting hard and needs support of all Muslims. Thus, ISIS goes to Southeast Asia. “ISIS feels that the group’s existence in Syria is constricted. I think that this ways is quite effective for ISIS to gain support the group. In fact, the use of social media is adequately successful to get international attention,” he contended.

He added that the ISIS movement is expected to obtain sympathy of people of other countries. However, the thought of SISI is jihad through violence against the thought of most of Indonesian Muslims. “Islam in Indonesia is rahmatan lil ‘alamin so that Indonesian Muslims are against violence. For instance, jihad ways of two Islamic organizations in Indonesia, namely Muhammadiyah and Nahdlatul Ulama, are through fostering education like establishing schools and universities.

Sidik explained that ISIS emerges due to identity crisis or loyalty crisis. There are four loyalty levels which lead to identity crisis, namely Ashabiyah, Wathaniyah, Qaummiyah, and Ummah. “Ashabiyah refers to loyalty to family or certain ideology, Wathaniyah means faithfulness in national identity, Qaummiyah is devotion to tribes, and Ummah defines adherence to religion. ISIS believes that the concept of Ummah can be proven by jihad, but the idea of jihad convinced by ISIS is distinctive from what Indonesian Muslims believe,” he said.

To confront ISIS, the foremost aspect that should be improved is the way of thinking. Islam sees that jihad is not a war against anybody. “Creating a country is a good goal, but it does not mean hijack Islamic values. A great goal should be achieved through great ways as well,” he expressed.

Sidik maintained that government has carried out virtuoso efforts to prevent the movement like providing public understanding of terrorism. “I think that government did a great job to avert the movement which calls itself an Islamic movement. The government has given understanding what people should and should not follow, and has cooperated with huge mass organizations in Indonesia to prevent the movement,” he mentioned.

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