Hawzah News Agency (Jakarta, Indonesia) - A new study shows public opposition to Daesh is growing in Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim country.
The survey also found that a large majority of Indonesians hold negative opinions of the group.
Saiful Mujani Research & Consulting, a Jakarta-based business, reported the findings. Its researchers spoke with 1,350 adults from across Indonesia between May 14 and May 20.
Nearly 90 percent of those who had heard of Daesh consider it a threat to the country.
The researchers found that 92.9 percent of those questioned want Daesh banned. Ten percent of those who had heard of the group do not see it as a threat to Indonesia, and many have never heard of it.
Two years ago, a Pew Research Center survey found that 79 percent of Indonesians had negative opinions of Daesh, while only 4 percent supported the group. For that survey, Pew spoke with people in 11 countries with large Muslim populations, including several in the Middle East and Africa.
Daesh has shown signs of expanding in Indonesia, which is home to 258 million people. But observers say the group does not have a future there.
“This is very encouraging,” said Thamrin Tomagola, a sociologist at the University of Indonesia. “The survey makes us hopeful because the number of people who oppose Daesh is pretty big.”
But he added that the government and the public must watch Daesh closely because it and other militant groups could weaken Muslim organizations in the country.
In the southern Philippines, conflict between the military and Daesh -supported militants worries some observers. They fear that Islamist terrorism may be gaining strength in Southeast Asia.
Countries there have made progress since the early 2000s in the fight against al-Qaida-supported groups, such as Abu Sayyaf in the Philippines and Jemaah Islamiyah in Indonesia.
Daesh has been seeking to increase its membership in Indonesia. The country’s terrorism agency reported that as many as 384 people had joined by January 2017. It says most of them have traveled to Syria or Iraq. Government reports last year suggested that as many as 169 to 300 Indonesians who fought for Daesh have returned home.