Following the terrorists attacks in Indonesia last week including horrific suicide bombings at four different sites in Surabaya, several people have been arrested by police for sharing hoaxes about the attack, including a university lecturer in North Sumatra who was arrested on Saturday for allegedly writing a Facebook post calling the attacks “a distraction” and implying they were done for political purposes.
The deputy speaker of Indonesia’s House of Representatives (DPR), Fadli Zon, recently told the media that he didn’t think that the attacks were actually done by terrorists because in his opinion, Indonesians could not be terrorists.
“Because I’m sure Indonesians are not terrorists, in my opinion. There must be a mastermind behind it or somebody who is motivating, taking advantage of or manipulating them,” the senior Gerindra party leader said at the Parliament building today as quoted by Tribun.
The Indonesian Police have told the public that the families behind the bombings in Surabaya were members of Jemaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD), an Indonesian militant extremist network with loyalties to the Islamic State terror group.
In his comments this morning, Fadli said that terrorist events began to increase in Indonesia after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack in New York (perhaps forgetting about incidents like the 2000 Christmas Eve bombings in Indonesia). He connected that increase to unscrupulous parties that were using terrorism to advance their interests in Indonesia.
“If we look before 2001, before there was 9/11, there is no such thing as suicide bombing, etc. So there are people who use this terrorism for their purposes,” Fadli said without elaborating on who those people might be.
The deputy house speaker’s comments were made in connection to the revision to the country’s 2003 Terrorism Law which is currently being pushed through the DPR following last week’s attacks. The law would give the government expanded powers to take preventative action against possible attacks, but one of the sticking points that has prevented its passage in the past is the definition of terrorism.
Fadli argued that he wanted “ideology and political objectives” to be included as part of the definition in the revision, in order to prevent the law from being misused against the government’s political opponents (a concern that some human rights activists share).
The deputy house speaker, who has shown himself to be a fan of both US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin in the past, received heavy criticism due to a politicized tweet he posted just hours after the church bombings in Surabaya in which he said, “Terrorism usually develops in countries with weak leadership, easily intervened, with great poverty, inequality and injustice.”