Defense Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu. (Antara Photo/M. Risyal Hidayat)

Islamic State Sympathizers May Come Home if They Swear Allegiance to Indonesia, Pancasila


JULY 09, 2019

Jakarta. Defense Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu said on Tuesday that thousands of Indonesian Islamic State sympathizers will be allowed to return to their home country on the condition they take an oath to be loyal to the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia and its official state ideology Pancasila.

They must also admit their wrongdoing, show contrition and promise not to join terrorist groups upon their return, the former Army commander said in Jakarta.

"Promise those things [then they can return home]. Don't come home if they still believe in IS," Ryamizard said.

Government officials will be dispatched to Syria to bring these IS sympathizers back home on humanitarian grounds. 

The government has been facing a conundrum on what to do with Indonesian IS sympathizers who are still stranded in Syria after the caliphate was wiped out early this year. 

Under Indonesian citizenship law, despite having professed allegiance to IS these sympathizers are still considered Indonesian citizens and technically there is nothing to stop them from coming back to Indonesia. 

Nevertheless, returnees from Syria have often been involved in domestic terrorist attacks, such as the suicide attacks on two churches in Surabaya last year. 

The suicide bombers turned out to be a family of six who had spent time in Syria as IS sympathizers.

The government has been working with lawmakers at the House of Representatives to find a way to ensure these returnees will not cause trouble once they are repatriated.