In an update on this story, the Indonesian Foreign minister discards national police deputy spokesman Anton Bahrul Alam’s assertion that “We can and will prevent them from leaving.”
From Reuters: “Indonesia says can’t keep militants out of Mideast”
JAKARTA (Reuters) – Indonesia has no way to prevent Muslim militants travelling from its shores to the Middle East or elsewhere to wage war against Israel, Foreign Minister Hassan Wirajuda said on Tuesday. The self-styled head of the Jakarta-based ASEAN Muslim Youth Movement said last week that more than 200 militants had been sent on missions to attack Israel’s interests and countries that support the Jewish state.
Militant groups in Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation, have made claims in the past of sending volunteers to participate in conflicts overseas which have often proved exaggerated.
“We are a country with a system in which people are extremely free to travel overseas and no exit permit is required,” Minister Wirajuda told reporters.
“Therefore we don’t have a method to prevent people (from travelling) but we have issued a travel advisory… to remind our citizens that it is not safe to travel to Lebanon for any purpose,” he said.
Wirajuda’s comments appeared to contradict earlier police statements that they would prevent people from going to the Middle East or elsewhere to fight.
On Tuesday, a spokesman for a group led by firebrand Muslim cleric Abu Bakar Bashir, the Indonesian Mujahideen Council, said 500 volunteers were ready to be dispatched to Lebanon and Palestinian territory.
“We should not let anyone stand in the way of the intention by some Muslims to go to Lebanon and Palestine,” Fauzan al Anshori told Metro TV.
Wirajuda said sending volunteers to fight Israeli troops would be a “reckless” move.
But go ahead and travel to Lebanon, and we’ll trust you not to fight.
“There are many ways to carry out jihad (holy struggle). What’s most urgently needed by the Lebanese is humanitarian assistance such as medicine and medical supplies,” he said.