Saturday, April 15, 2017


 Jakarta, April 15, 2017 (Antara) - The younger generation is the future of Indonesia and hence should be safeguarded from being influenced by the ideologies spread by terrorists and radicals.
          The youth must also be at the forefront in the fight against the spread of radicalism and terrorism in cyberspace, as they spend much of their time on the internet.  
     Along with advancements in the field of information technology, radical terrorist groups have changed their ways of recruitment. The main target of their propaganda is the younger generation.
          "Radical terrorist groups no longer rely on figures and face-to-face forums but rather on influencing the youth through massive propaganda in cyberspace," Commissioner General Suhardi Alius, head of the National Counterterrorism Agency (BNPT), noted while addressing several youth participating in a training course on "Peace Envoy of Cyber Media 2017" in Bandung, West Java, on Apr 10-13.
          The younger generation must play an active role in countering content indicating terrorism and radicalism campaigns, including those aimed at recruiting new members through the internet.
          "Today, your role as BNPT's peace envoys in cyber media is to counter (radicalism and terrorism) by spreading content carrying peace messages in cyberspace," he stated.     
     Alius said he was aware that the task is not easy, though he believes that the youth have their own strategies and means to fight terrorism and radicalism.

          "On behalf of the government and country, I seek your help by being actively involved in counterterrorism efforts," he pointed out.
          He remarked that the youth, through an informal approach, using slang terms if necessary, can spread the message of peace
     "As a result, the message can be easily accepted by the public, especially by the younger generation," he pointed out.
          The agency invited 60 youngsters comprising, active bloggers, visual communication designers, and IT programmers, to attend the training course.
          The training course is crucial as, according to a survey, around 64 percent of internet users in Indonesia are young people who are still unstable and looking for an identity.
          "Through these cyber world peace envoys, we hope to be able to spread messages of peace in cyberspace," Head of the Supervision and Counter Propaganda Division of BNPT Col Sujatmiko noted.
          The Indonesian government has been using both soft and hard power in the fight against terrorism.
          During the 2016-2017 period, the authorities have foiled nine attempts to launch terror attacks.
          "This a fact, and it is recognized and lauded by the world," Director of the Prevention Division of BNPT Brig. Gen. Hamidin noted.
          The latest incident was the killing of six terror suspects of the Jamaah Ansharut Daulah group in Tuban, East Java, after the arrest of three other suspects in Lamongan in the province.
         Hamidin said groups of radical terrorists also utilized advanced communications technology to spread propaganda and to recruit new members through the cyber world.
         Hence, the BNPT deems it necessary to launch preventive and counter-radicalization measures in the cyber world involving various circles, he emphasized, adding that propaganda in the cyber world could distort facts and change the public's views of the reality.
         Reports of distorted facts on the series of incidents circulating in the cyber world could lead to accusations of gross violations of human rights by the police, he cautioned.
          Earlier, BNPT Head Suhardi Alius had affirmed that the fight against terrorism must be conducted in a comprehensive manner in order to achieve a major impact.
          "If we combat terrorism individually, we will never be able to completely eradicate radicalism and terrorism," he stated during a workshop in March attended by 200 participants, comprising 100 editors-in-chief of moderate sites, 50 administrators and authors, as well as 50 representatives of youth organizations.
          Chairman of the Indonesian Ulema Council Maruf Amin acknowledged that the fight against terrorism is not an easy task. 
     "Prevention through the cyberspace is indeed not easy. Hence, intensive efforts are needed to deal with terrorism. A synergy between ulemas and the government is crucial. Every stakeholder in this nation needs to be involved too," he noted.
          Amin expressed support to the BNPT in its fight against terrorism, both through preventive and prosecutive measures.
         He also emphasized the importance of utilizing cyberspace in the fight against radicalism and terrorism, as it has been effectively used by terrorist and radical groups to spread their ideologies.
         Terrorist groups have distorted religious values and misinterpreted them to misguide the public, he pointed out.
         For instance, the word "jihad" does not always mean "war," but it could also translate to bringing about improvements in social, cultural, and political aspects, among others, he added.
         Indonesia has been established based on an understanding and agreement between various religious and racial groups.
         Hence, any form of radicalism and terrorism should be eradicated and countered in this country, as they have the potential to destroy the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia, he noted.

(T.F001/A/BESSR/A. Abdussalam) 15-04-2017

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