By Ainur Rohmah
A sermon warning against the spread of ideologies espoused by Daesh was read during the Friday prayer at more than 10,000 mosques in a southern Indonesian province.
The uniform message presented to congregations across South Sulawesi had been drafted by the province's Office of Religious Affairs as part of efforts to prevent the influence of the Middle Eastern group’s mindset in the world’s most populous Muslim country.
Governor Syahrul Yasin Limpo told Beritasatu.com on Friday that the spread of Daesh’s ideology and other forms of radicalism “must be resisted and the government has a duty to provide awareness and understanding to the community."
Limpo had requested the sermon, read in 24 districts and cities, after an unidentified person threw a grenade – which failed to explode -- at his official residence Wednesday.
The chief of South Sulawesi’s religious ministry said the sermon, titled ‘Building People's Optimism toward a Prosperous, Progressive and Peaceful Society’, had been distributed to 12,916 mosques and called for upholding tolerance and peace.
"People should be reminded to be more vigilant and not easily influenced by the radical ideology that carries the name of Islam but is not in accordance with the teachings of Islam," the local Tribun Makassar newspaper quoted Abdul Wahid Tahir as saying.
The sermon calls on people to realize the value of the Islamic teaching of ‘rahmatan lil'alamin’ – or ‘mercy for all worlds’ – in order to avoid radicalism in the name of religion.
"[We] need to develop ourselves into a faithful person through our religion so that our attitudes and behavior reflect God's commands, which include being able to appreciate differences and making peace in diversity," the sermon read.
It underlined that the radical mindset as manifested in acts of violence and terrorism are not justified by religion.
"So, the establishment of a noble individual must begin with an understanding of the content of religious teachings,” the sermon said.
Indonesia has witnessed a number of violent acts by extremist groups, including the Jemaah Islamiyah, al-Qaeda’s Southeast Asia-affiliate blamed for the 2002 Bali bombings that killed 202 people.
Over the last three months, security forces have been conducting an operation in pursuit of Indonesia’s most wanted man, Abu Wardah Santoso, who has pledged allegiance to Daesh.
Santoso – who leads the East Indonesia Mujahideen, which has taken responsibility for the killing of several police officers – is believed to be hiding in the mountainous forests of Central Sulawesi province with dozens of followers.
Operation ‘Camar Maleo’ in Poso town, in which around 1,700 security personnel were involved, is set to end Saturday despite Santoso remaining on the run.
Since mid-December, at least 14 people suspected of having links with Daesh have been arrested in Indonesia.
According to national police data, around 1,085 Indonesians are listed as supporters and sympathizers of Daesh, while at least 408 others have joined the group in the Middle East.