Dozens of university and high school graduates from across the country formed the Alumni for Indonesia organisation on December 21 to address concerns about the country’s potential tilt toward social and political tribalism.
Alumni representative Bilmar Sitanggang said the movement aimed to maintain public order and national unity given that certain mass organisations had appropriated free speech rhetoric to disseminate hateful propaganda against the government and jeopardise social cohesion.
Growing intolerance and radicalism could serve as fertile grounds for terrorism, eroding public trust in authorities, he said.
Bilmar said in a statement: “Intolerance and radicalism distilled in widely disseminated hate speech, if not immediately stemmed, could disrupt political stability and national security.”
During a public demonstration held on December 21 afternoon, the organisation affirmed its stance against intolerance and pledged its support for the country’s authorities in the fight against radical groups that ran counter to the values of state ideology Pancasila.
The organisation also urged the government and lawmakers to revise the law on deradicalisation to prevent attempts at polarisation. It called for the immediate establishment of a task force aimed at counteracting intolerance and radicalism in the country.
The return of Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) leader Rizieq Shihab and the controversy surrounding the controversial cleric and hardline group in recent weeks has once again stoked fears about a polarised society.
The apparent animosity between the government and the FPI escalated earlier this month with the police shooting of six FPI members. The police reportedly had been tailing the members in response to a tip about plans to disrupt the police questioning of Rizieq regarding health protocol violations.
Rizieq went to the Jakarta Police headquarters on December 12, nearly a week after the fatal shooting, to fulfil a police summons for questioning in the health protocol case, in which he had been named a suspect.
THE JAKARTA POST/ASIA NEWS NETWORK