7.2 Percent of High Schoolers in Indonesia Back IS: Survey

By Paramita Dewiyani
150331-ID-student-620 Indonesian high school students take the national examination in Malang, East Java, April 18, 2013.

Seven percent of high school students in the cities of Jakarta and Bandung support the Islamic State (IS) extremist group, according to a survey conducted by the Setara Institute for Democracy and Peace, a civil society group.

The survey found that radicalism even exists among students, Bonar Tigor Naipospos, Setara’s deputy director, told a press conference in Jakarta on Monday.

“This number can change, depending on the role of teachers, parents and society in providing an explanation about what, who and why they must reject the ideology of ISIS,” Bonar told BenarNews afterwards, using an alternate acronym for the Middle Eastern extremist group.

The survey of 684 students was carried out from March 9-19 in 171 high schools – 106 of them in Jakarta and the rest in Bandung, West Java.

“We chose Jakarta as a barometer of cities in Indonesia, whereas Bandung was chosen because of the high number of cases of intolerance there,” Bonar said.

The survey did not differentiate among the gender, religious affiliation, or race of respondents.

Of 106 participants who said they were aware of the Ahmadiyya and Shia branches of Islam, almost half – 43.8 percent – supported limiting their activities because their teachings deviate from Sunni Islam, which is embraced by the majority of Indonesian Muslims.

The high percentage of students who expressed intolerance is concerning, because that is a root cause of terrorism, according to Hendardi, head of the Setara Institute’s board.

The figures serve as a reminder that intolerance exists among children too, said Wawan Purwanto, a staff expert at the National Counterterrorism Agency (BNPT).

“Students are a part of the broader society. The solution is to build trust between students, teachers and parents. They must work together to teach, guide and monitor students in and out of school,” he said.

Bonar said he did not conclude from the data that students were being radicalized in school.

“This is a preliminary study, but we think most extremist influence comes from outside school,” he said.


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