Following the terrorist attacks in Surabaya and Riau about two weeks ago, worries related to religious radicalism have been thrust to the forefront of concerns here in Indonesia. But well before these latest terror attacks took place, observers had been warning about the large number of students and even teachers at the nation’s universities found to have become radicalized or join radical groups.
Universitas Indonesia, considered the country’s best university by some metrics, responded to a recent report regarding the large number of radical groups that have infiltrated the nation’s top schools by stating that they take harsh action against students found to be joining radical organizations.
“There is a mechanism to prove it through a judgement of the violation and the rules. There will be varying sanctions, from suspension to expulsion,” UI spokesperson Rifelly Dewi Astuti said as quoted by CNN Indonesia.
Rifelly said that other ways UI fights radicalism on campus is by working with moderate religious organizations and having all incoming freshman take a course on nationalism and the state ideology of Pancasila.
The National Agency for Combating Terrorism (BNPT) recently released a report stating that almost every state university in Java and Sulawesi have been exposed to religious-based radicalism.
Those findings are in line with a survey from the State Intelligence Agency (BIN) released in April stating that 39 percent of the students surveyed were anti-democratic and disagreed with Pancasila being the foundation of the Indonesian state, while 23 percent said they agreed with the government being overthrown by an Islamic caliphate.
Also in response to concerns about growing radicalism in their schools, two universities in Indonesia banned the use of the niqab (face veil) by female students earlier this year but reversed their policies after public outcry.