Following last month’s deadly terrorist attacks in Surabaya and Riau, alarms have been raised about the growing religious extremism throughout Indonesia and officials warn that even the metropolitan capital of Jakarta has numerous mosques teaching radical ideology.
Jakarta Vice Governor Sandiaga Uno said yesterday that he had data from the Bureau of Mental and Spiritual Education (Dikmental) and the Jakarta Muslim Charitable Donations Board (Bazis) indicating that 40 mosques in the capital had been infiltrated with radical ideology.
Although Sandiaga did not reveal any more specifics about these mosques, he said that the Jakarta government would take steps to bring them back into the mainstream and prevent them from taking any dangerous actions.
Arguing that radicalism arises from poverty and the powerlessness in society, Sandiaga said one thing could do was to build up the economy around these mosques.
“One of the problems that causes radicalism is injustice and lack of understanding, which continues to be indoctrinated into young people, the next generation of our nation and so they want to take shortcuts.There is no other way than through education, so we will give them the chance to become entrepreneurs and successful people with the OK OCE program,” Sandiaga said as quoted by Merdeka (OK OCE being Sandiaga’s signature entrepreneurship program that he seems to find a reason to talk about during almost every interview he gives).
Concerns about radical mosques in Jakarta are not new. In 2016, ABC Australia ran a story about Islamic State supporters recruiting new members at a Jakarta mosque and ISIS ideology being taught in several other mosques as well.