The Role of Buzzer
It is straightforward to accuse a radical group in Indonesia if they oppose government policy in recent years. In addition, it is also for those not from the two unofficial elements of the most prominent Islamic organizations in Indonesia (NU and Muhammadiyah).
I could have been suspected of being radical simply for writing about the concept of the Islamic State or the Islamic movement, which has been part of my studies for the last twenty years.
Therefore, it is challenging to comment on anything on behalf of religion in the political constellation, especially in cyberspace. The position will be safer if not comment on anything that invites a certain amount of suspicion on anyone who opposes the government.
Cyberspace has become a scene of cyber warfare in Indonesia, with each buzzer representing pro and anti-government groups. If criticism comes from anti-government groups, they will usually face the police.
On the other hand, for those who are pro-government, despite making very sarcastic comments that insult certain groups, the government will not take firm action.
The brotherhood in the nation’s name has begun to fade since Jokowi became President of the Republic of Indonesia. The government’s “selective feeling” model further sharpens conflicts between groups of people in cyberspace.
The spread of various analyzes and conspiracies always appears in the WA group. Each group discusses how to stop the opponent’s steps.
In 1999, Prof. Taufik Abdullah, the former Head of LIPI, wrote an article entitled “Islamophobia.” I would like to quote at length what this Indonesian historian, who is an alumnus of Cornel University, wrote:
With the existence of Darul Islam, there is a myth that Islam in Indonesia is militant, so it is scary. This also frightens Christians. However, they forget that Islam in Indonesia is not monolithic. Islam in Indonesia has NU and Masyumi. Then, the term “Islamic Awakening” is known in this modern century. These symptoms are international.
The symptoms of the rise of Islam are the efforts of Muslims in gaining a place of religion in the constellation of modern countries and global cosmopolitan society. Eventually, it also became an internal conflict. This conflict is also feared. Those are some things that cause Islam to be feared by other people.
Islamophobia has existed since the republic was born. However, during the New Order, Islamophobia was shaped by the operations of the New Order government in particular. This is evident from the jargon used by the government. Whenever you mention extremes, what is meant is Islam; That extreme left is the PKI. That is part of the fabric of the New Order. In recent times, Suharto has been a little close to Islam. That scares Christians too. It is as if Islam is part of an authoritarian establishment. Although good-looking, always suspicious. That is the fate of most people, such as Javanese, whom outsiders ridicule, and so is Golkar.
If they know their minority, they do not need to be afraid of the majority. Islamophobia is more due to the perceived lack of self-confidence of minorities. So, a minority who believes in him will not be fearful of Islam. He will associate with anyone in fighting for democracy and deliberation.
There should be no efforts to eradicate the effects of Islamophobia. Because the more it is tried, the more it is suspected. Therefore, leave it alone. That is the problem not with the Muslim group but with the minority group; Islam is regular. Who says Islam is monolithic. Just look, the political attitude of NU and Al-Washilyyah will not be the same. Just every time a Muslim speaks, it always feels scary. Islam is not frightening.
When Islamophobia occurred during the Dutch colonial period in the Nusantara, it could control by classifying and choosing any category: Islam as an ideological and political force and Islam as part of society’s culture.
Islam was regulated in such a way as to interfere with Dutch rule in Indonesia. Such is the brief history of the emergence of Islamophobia presented by Prof. Taufik Abdullah.
In Soekarno’s time also managed to control the power of Islam. Until then, Indonesia had to experience the tragedy of September 30, 1965, which impacted the massacre of Indonesians accused of being part of the Indonesian Communist Party.
Therefore, Muslims must also be used to compete with groups accused of being part of the minions of the communist movement in Indonesia.
When Soeharto rose, he returned to Islam. Prof. Taufik Abdullah stated above that he is always suspected when they are confronted with Pancasila. Non-Muslim groups that “whispered” to Suharto were able to control the power of Muslims.
However, in 1997, Soeharto began to get close to Islam when Habibie and ICMI (Indonesian Muslim Scholars Association) emerged among technocrats from Islamic groups. Since then, the support of Christian groups for Suharto has been disrupted by Habibie’s presence.
Islamic groups also managed to detain Megawati for becoming President in 1999, when Abdurrahman Wahid became President of the Republic of Indonesia. However, he was unconstitutionally demoted through a Special Session of the MPR in 2001.
At that time, publications on political Islam were booming in Indonesia. Although allegedly not owned by Muslims, the national network of bookstores, Gramedia, contributed to spreading various right-wing ideologies on their bookshelves, which were translations of Arabic-language works. Since that time, there has been no social media boom in this republic.
War on Terror
In 2001, the issue of terrorism increased sharply in Indonesia. Various bombs exploded in the archipelago. Until then, Indonesia had to deal with the Terrorism group, alumni of Arab-Afghan and Mindanao.
They want to establish an Islamic State in the archipelago. Since then, Islam has become increasingly suspect in the nation-state constellation in Indonesia.
The United States’ campaign on the “War on Terror” also has implications for the Indonesian government’s policy. Moreover, after the Bali Bombing, Indonesia’s good name on the international stage was tarnished. Foreigners began to be afraid to come to Indonesia, especially Bali.
At the time, I was involved in fighting the narrative of terrorism campaigned by Jema’aah Islam as an Al-Qaeda network in Southeast Asia. We dissect the discourse of the Guidelines for the Struggle of the Islamic Congregation in Indonesia, where they already have terrorist networks in several major cities in Indonesia.
One of my significant contributions was to write the book The Kingdom of God, which was then printed in thousands and sent to all government offices, both at home and abroad.
Counter-Terrorism in Every Corner of the Country
At that time, the issue of radicalism and terrorism did not appear in the political constellation, especially in the campaign material of the presidential candidate. During the time of Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, the campaign against anti-radicalism and terrorism blocked Indonesia’s entire network of terrorism.
Densus 88 was formed as an executor in the field, which hunted down no more than 50 thousand individuals involved in terrorist networks. Foreigners, who have interests in Indonesia, also helped Densus’s armaments. They are also trained on how to conduct terrorist eradication operations.
Among the TNI, a special division also handles the operation to eradicate the underground movement of terrorist networks in Indonesia. It is just that they do not have the power of law to execute.
So that the coordination of intelligence operations below sometimes overlaps between fellow security officers, especially those who conduct espionage or intelligence. Coordination of data and operations in the field often does not go well. The issue of sectoral ego is also a very crucial matter.
Several intelligence officers from the TNI told how they conducted underground operations when dealing with Densus 88, part of the Republic of Indonesia Police. Densus’s intelligence equipment was further improved in quality through the state budget and assistance from foreign countries.
They became the “golden boy” in the fight against terrorism in Indonesia. Some police officers who have been in Densus 88 also have brilliant careers. Because of that, Densus 88 seems to be the new elite force in Indonesia.
When the handling of radicalism and terrorism is carried out and discussed in the public domain, this is the beginning of a new Islamophobia movement in Indonesia.
Some Indonesians are even more shocked when a reasonable person becomes a suicide bomber.
Conspiracies also emerged as a scenario for certain groups to corner Muslims. Conspiracies also lead and divide public knowledge about the world of terrorism and radicalism.
The issue of radicalism reaches the state palace, parliament building, strategists for winning elections, and the presidential election to those who do not have adequate knowledge about terrorism and radicalism issues in Indonesia. Finally, the issue of radicalism and terrorism entering cyberspace in Indonesia.
Meanwhile, security forces continue to work for 27 hours 7 days to monitor and stop individual movements already in their database as part of the terrorism movement in Indonesia.
Some individuals who are suspected of being terrorists have been arrested and incapacitated. In contrast, some have succeeded in carrying out their terror missions to the community to fight against the legitimate government.
War on Terror on Indonesian Social Media
Even on social media, netizens are starting to talk about this issue. Mass communication strategists and social media experts, who helped win political parties and presidential candidates, began to work on the social imagination of netizens to sympathize with their candidates while hating those accused of being radicals or terrorists.
This process then leads to various concepts to find supporters and haters of the issue of radicalism. The government also feels helped by the anti-radical campaign on social media.
This is because most of the ideologies of radicalism and extremism are spread through social media networks.
Not surprisingly, in Indonesia in the last decade, the problem of Homegrown Terrorism has started to emerge as the impact of social media on families.
Finally, the government used all socio-religious and social-intellectual forces in this republic to block the movement of the Islamic movement, which was seen as endangering the safety and security of the country.
Since then, Muslims have become easy targets for anyone interested in eliminating radicalism and terrorism movements in Indonesia. All these campaigns go to cyberspace.
The war of thought began to occur among Indonesian netizens. Buzzers work to earn income from their work to benefit the rulers.
The oligarchic groups who have political and economic interests also ride the government so that all sentiments of the Islamic movement must be removed for investment.
The communist group, which has been waiting a long to take revenge against Muslims, is gaining momentum. Traditional groups who want to gain power in the government also participate in a similar campaign.
This situation then facilitates the work of government institutions that are officially mandated to tackle terrorism issues in Indonesia, namely the National Counterterrorism Agency (BNPT).
This agency is at the forefront with other related institutions and ministries to formulate strategic plans to counter radicalism, extremism, separatism, and terrorism in Indonesia.
In the end, this campaign has made Muslims more and more cornered by the day. Their situation is exactly like the New Order era when Islam was considered the extreme right. Meanwhile, the extreme left, namely the communist movement, got a breath of fresh air to infiltrate power massively and comprehensively in the center of power in this country.
The anti-communist campaign has entirely stopped since 2016. They have even been allowed to take the test to become the Indonesian National Army, something the Indonesian government has not done since the 1970s.
Currently, expressing opinions in public or on social media in Indonesia must be understood. If the government, oligarchy, and government support groups are hurt, prison rooms are waiting at the Correctional Institution.
The phenomenon of Islamophobia is not new in Indonesia. It is just that the models and methods are different. The perpetrators remained unchanged. Therefore, when asked the pro-government groups, they immediately answered that there is no Islamophobia in Indonesia.
Those who are anti-government indeed say that Islamophobia has become a symptom during the Jokowi administration. However, it is also interesting to observe how the state has facilitated the legacy of hatred in Indonesian society for decades.