Indonesia’s largest Muslim organization Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) has urged the public to be cautious with news from social media because some information circulating on the internet is purportedly spread by irresponsible parties to deteriorate the country’s unity.
NU chairman Said Aqil Siroj highlighted the growing use of social media to spread hatred and slurs by referencing ethnic, religious, racial and inter-group (SARA) issues.
“The issues of the Jakarta gubernatorial election and the Middle East conflict, for example, have been exploited to fuel hatred against certain groups. It will endanger the country’s plurality,” he said on Friday during the organization’s year-end reflection.
He added that the public needed to be vigilant of extremist groups that take advantage of social media’s extensive coverage to spread their radical teachings.
The government, he added, should take firm action against social media content promoting extremism and step up efforts to create a counter narrative against radicalism.
“We think the government has failed to build a counter narrative that would prevent radicalism from growing in the digital sphere. Values of tolerance have been met with the intensive spread of radical content that is easily accessible and shared on social media on a daily basis,” he said.
Recently, the Singapore and the Turkey authorities deported two and three Indonesian men, respectively, for allegedly attempting to join Islamic State (IS) militants in war torn Syria.