Bali Police have established a task force to fight against the Islamic State (IS) movement on the resort island, warning members of the public to increase their level of caution over attempts by the group to spread its ideology.
Bali Police spokesperson Sr. Comr. Hery Wiyanto said on Monday that the new outfit has been named the IS Counter-radicalism and Deradicalization Task Force and consists of three teams that will focus on investigation of IS radicalism, counter-radicalism and actions to conduct deradicalization.
"The task force will be continuously working from today. We urge people to keep watching their areas, so that if Bali becomes a terrorism target they will have the ability to prevent it. If the public finds anything suspicious, please report it to the nearest police office immediately," Hery said.
He said that the task force would map the areas on Bali that were prone to being infiltrated by IS, disseminate information on the danger of IS ideology and set up a rehabilitation programme for several groups that would be potentially or have been infiltrated by the radical movement.
"We will also involve Muslim figures from the Indonesian Ulema Council [MUI], the religion office, as well as the National Unity and Community Protection Agency. We will work together to change people's mindsets against impact by IS," he said.
Hery said that police have yet to find any sign of the IS movement in Bali. Police, however, have found many indications of radicalism in several areas.
"There are many Quran recitation gatherings that are being held by people from outside Bali and the speeches tend toward radicalism. We should be on alert as they could inject IS ideology and then conduct recruitment," he said.
Police also revealed that one of the 16 missing Indonesians who were allegedly going to Syria to join IS had lived on Bali.
The 23-year-old woman, SA, had been living in Bali with her family since she was a child and then moved to Surakarta, Central Java after marrying a Surakarta resident, identified as M.
SA and M were known to have been on their way to Syria with their 2-year-old baby. They have not been seen since.
Hery said that police had visited SA's family in Bali. "But her father said that he had never met with his daughter since she was married," he added.