The National Police has urged the public to remain calm, saying that there had not yet been any indication that last Friday’s terror attacks in Paris would inspire similar attacks in Indonesia.
“There has been no signs [of potential copycat attacks],” National Police spokesman Brig. Gen. Agus Rianto told The Jakarta Post on Thursday.
The radical Islamic State (IS) group has since claimed responsibility for the attack in the French capital that claimed over 120 lives.
Agus said that the National Police had launched preventive measures including stepping up surveillance to ensure a similar attack would not happen in the country.
“[The National Police chief] has ordered the leaders of each police precinct nationwide to step up security measures in areas where people mostly gather. But, for this we need support and information from the public,” Agus said.
Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Luhut Panjaitan also called on the public not to be concerned by the possibility of the influence of IS growing in Indonesia following reports that a number of Indonesians who had joined the movement in Syria had been trying to return home.
“Do not worry, we are serious about handling this,” Luhut told a press conference on Thursday. “Until now, we have yet to see any indication that the country is a potential target of IS.”
A recent public opinion poll conducted by the Indonesian Survey Institute (LSI) found that there were growing fears that Indonesia could be targeted by terrorists.
The survey revealed that 84.62 percent of 600 respondents from the country’s 33 provinces were worried that an attack like the one in Paris would take place here.
The survey, conducted between Nov. 15 and 17, found that those who were most concerned about possible terrorist attacks came from the middle to high socio-economic bracket.
The LSI found that 54.11 percent of respondents feared that terrorists would target the country.
“Those from the middle to upper classes have easier access to information and more knowledge from media and other sources of reference,” LSI researcher Fitri Hani said on Thursday.
The survey also found that at least 86 percent of respondents were convinced that IS militants already had a presence in the country.
According to data presented in March by Nanyang Technological University terrorism expert Rohan Gunaratna, 19 of the 27 militant groups in Southeast Asia that had declared their support for IS were from Indonesia.
Recent data from the National Counterterrorism Agency (BNPT) shows that 297 Indonesians were thought to have joined IS in Syria, with 129 thought to still be in Syria while 120 had been deported and 37 already dead.
The majority of survey respondents also wanted President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo to step up government measures against radical groups to suppress growing fundamentalism in the country.
“They also wanted the religious groups, especially the country’s two largest Muslim organizations, to speak out and lead by example in the fight against terrorism,” Fitri said, referring to Muhammadiyah and Nahdlatul Ulama (NU).
Former Muhammadiyah chairman Din Syamsuddin, currently the chairman of the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) advisory council, said that most Muslim groups had relentlessly campaigned for peace and tolerance.
However, Din urged the government to lead efforts to suppress radicalization that was often the result of social, economic and political factors.
Fedina S. Sundaryani and Ina Parlina, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | National | Fri, November 20 2015