Newborns for new militants: Daesh uses baby to recruit in Indonesia

Published August 8th, 2015 - 03:32 GMT

A horrific photo of a newborn baby propped next to an automatic machine gun and grenade is fueling concerns that the Islamic State (IS, also known as Daesh) is infiltrating Indonesia with its extremist ideologies.

'Uncles and aunts come and fight in Syria for jihad wherever you are', a sign next to the baby reads, challenging locals to follow the call of Muslim extremists and travel overseas to Syria and Iraq.

Virtually a unanimously Muslim country, Indonesia is becoming a targeting ground for radical conversions as ISIS continues to grow in its merciless battle for ownership of the Middle East.

Fairfax Media travelled to Menteng, an exclusive suburb in Jakarta this month, locating a mosque preaching ISIS ideologies, nestled between Government Defence and US Embassy buildings.

The administrator of the mosque, Farihin, denied supporting ISIS - despite allowing a pro-IS banner to be hung and admitting that IS supporters were allowed to lead religious classes from within the building.

'Anyone can come here as long as their rituals are in accordance with sharia,' he said. 'The activities are just a response to what is happening in the Middle East.' 

The Indonesian Government has extensively tried to shut down ISIS presence following the devastating 2002 Bali bombings, which left hundreds dead including 88 Australians.

The national reaction to ISIS has been largely negative, as it conflicts with the nations fundamental belief of peaceful living, the freedom of pluralism and the rejection of violence.

However, with 80% of the nation plugged into social media - ISIS' main form of recruitment - and a population majority of males under 30 amidst devastating poverty, the allure of a paid position overseas fighting for ISIS is certainly proving tempting.

Fairfax reports that at least 300, and as many as 700, Indonesians have travelled overseas to join ISIS - numbers that could continue to grow without precise targeting by the Indonesian Government.

© Associated Newspapers Ltd.

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