The radical Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant has produced a slick video to recruit Indonesians, a move a member of Parliament’s intelligence and security committee warns poses a greater danger than Australian jihadists.
The video, posted on the internet in recent days, features a group of eight Indonesians led by a spokesman who urges his countrymen to take up arms in Syria and Iraq.
Terrorism experts in Asia believe at least 100 Indonesians are fighting with jihadist groups in the Middle East and warn their return can pose a risk greater than when Jemaah Islamiyah was at its height during the Bali bombing era.
Australian security agencies have also warned that hundreds of unreconstructed jihadists swept up by Indonesian police in the post-Bali crackdown are due to get out of prison in the coming year and pose another threat.
Liberal MP Andrew Nikolic, a former senior Army officer, called the video ‘‘disturbing’’ and said it underscored what he believed was ‘‘a bigger risk to Australians and Westerners than what might arise from those returning to Australia’’.
Mr Nikolic said the threat posed by returning Australian jihadists needed ‘‘serious consideration’’ but cautioned against ‘‘exaggerating and sensationalising’’ the issue.
He said returning Indonesian jihadists – as well as those from the Philippines and Malaysia – posed ‘‘a much greater threat’’ to Australians because of the relative weakness of intelligence and security institutions in south-east Asia and the heavy flow of Australians travelling and holidaying in the region.
The Syria and Iraq conflict meant south-east Asian jihadists were ‘‘enhancing their training and practical fighting skills in the Middle East and, if they survive there, lying dormant ... but with the heightened potential and confidence to strike seemingly at will at softer civilian targets, invariably Western visitors and tourists and ... innocent locals’’.
The slick video starts with the bold caption, ‘‘Join the ranks’’, and a group of heavily armed Indonesian militants walking along a pristine beach in slow motion, carrying the ISIL flag.
The group’s spokesman Abu Muhammad al-Indonesi delivers a lengthy diatribe in which he berates Indonesian Muslim men who do not join the fight with ISIL, which has recently rebadged itself as the Islamic State, in the Middle East.
‘‘You’ve heard the clear and unequivocal call of Allah,” he says. “We ask you, where’s your faith? Why are you worried? What’s the reason for your fear?
He condemns Muslims who regard their families, homes and businesses as more important to them than jihad, or holy war.
‘‘Where is your anger when the rule of Allah is mocked, and his Sharia is debased? Do you not find motivation to wage jihad in the path of Allah?”
ISIL has become well-known for its very effective use of the internet and social media, particularly with such recruitment videos, which are usually slickly produced and accompanied by rousing music.