Terrorist Attacks Evoke a Sense of Nationalism

By: Yuni Suryati.

Indonesia’s unique composition as an Asian nation with the largest number of Muslims means that global extremists may hide behind plain members of society.  Analysts believe that as a democracy in a non-contiguous topography housing hundreds of indigenous groups and languages, some extremists exist who do not want to mix Islam with diversity.

How would you address international opinion on the Indonesian public’s ingrained resistance to extremism and its cohesiveness as a nation?

Indonesian activists shout slogans and hold a banner reading “We are not afraid” in front the site of a bombing in Jakarta. PHOTO: EPA

As the 3rd largest democratic country in the world, Indonesia has around 250 million population, 350 ethnic groups, and religious pluralism where Buddhist, Catholics, Christian, Hindus, Konghucus, and Muslim live together tolerantly, with Muslim as majority.  The founding father has launched Bhinneka Tungga Ika as a symbol of the country since the beginning of the independence. This words means Unity in Diversity. Because of the diversity, Indonesia will remain as a secular democracy country and related to Muslims as a majority, Indonesia can be considered as a moderate Islamic country.

Considered as a pluralistic country, not easy for all of the Indonesian people have same views and opinion to achieve the ideals of the nation. Every person has different background and goals, therefore, tolerance plays an important role in the political, economic, and social lives. Fortunately, Indonesia has Pancasila as an ideology that will lead the leaders in running the country to gain the national interest.

On 14 January 2016, Indonesia had experienced a tragedy. Multiple explosions and gunfire were occurred near Sarinah shopping mall in Central Jakarta. At least eight people, four attackers and four civilians were killed, and 23 were injured due to the attack. The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) claimed responsibility. Though Indonesia is far from the conflict area in Middle East, the country experienced several attacks by Islamic militants in the past two decades that have killed hundreds of people.

The President of Indonesia, Joko Widodo, was responded the attacks in remarkable way. “We condemn actions that disrupt public security and the peace of the people and sow terror. I have instructed the police chief and the coordinating minister for political, legal and security affairs to pursue and arrest the perpetrators and their network. The people do not need to be afraid and should not be defeated by these terrorist acts. I hope the people remain calm because it is all controllabled”.

Responding to the words of President Joko Widodo, people in Jakarta immediately made a statement “we are not afraid” through social media which soon became a trending topic worldwide. Thousands of people were compelled went down to the street and showed their grief with these words in a banner. They want to show to the world and to the terrorist groups around the world that public’s ingrained resistance to extremism.

The international community has praised the Indonesian government for its handling of the Sarinah terrorist attacks and its aftermath. Many countries stated that they were ready to support Indonesia in its fight against terrorism. The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) applauded the swift response taken by the Indonesian authorities in dealing with the attacks. ASEAN fully supports the government of Indonesia in bringing the perpetrators of these acts to justice and remains united and committed to working with the international community to further intensify its cooperation to combat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, regardless of its motivation, wherever, whenever and by whomsoever it is committed.

In Indonesia ISIS is aggressively trying to recruit members and supporters. Hundreds of Indonesian people are eager joining ISIS and trying to get into Syria through borders, such as Turkey or Jordan. Most of them were deported after being arrested by security forces. This fact shows that extremism is growing in Indonesia. Indonesian Government is very serious in combating against terrorism. Recently, special security forces has been shot dead the leader of terrorist group in Poso, Santoso, and arrested the members of the group.  The international community has recognized the seriousness of Indonesia in combating terrorism.

Indonesia still has a lot of homework to be resolved during the President Joko Widodo’s administration, which are:

1. Reducing social inequalities by improving the community’s economy through development in all regions, inclusively.
2. Increasing public awareness through persuasive approaches.
3. Promoting interfaith dialogue both in national and international levels.

In conclusion, Indonesia is a multicultural country. Terrorist attacks has occurred several times in Indonesia. The Indonesian government has seriously deal with these terrorist issues. The international community has also recognized this, and together will combating terrorism worldwide.




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