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Beware of Radical and Terrorist Group Disorders in the 2024 Election

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By : Suryani Adiyasa )*

General Elections (Pemilu) are important moments in the democratic life of a country. In Indonesia, elections are a people’s party that determines the direction of the nation’s future. However, in the excitement of welcoming the 2024 Election, we need to be aware of the potential for interference from radical groups and the threat of terrorism which could damage the democratic process.

Indonesia, as a country with ethnic, religious, racial and cultural diversity, has its own challenges in maintaining security during elections. Radical groups and terrorism can exploit this vulnerability to create tension and worsen the political atmosphere.

Technological developments have had a major impact on the election process, but have also opened the door to radicalization in the digital space. Social media and online platforms can become a forum for spreading radical ideology and terrorist propaganda. The 2024 election may be an arena for the spread of extreme narratives that can divide society.

Radicalism in the digital space can refer to the spread of radical ideology, fake news (hoaxes), dangerous rhetoric, or acts of extremism through online platforms such as social media, websites and messaging applications. Radical groups can utilize social media and online platforms to spread hoaxes, fake news and propaganda designed to influence voters and create distrust in the election process.

Former terrorism convict Ali Fauzi Manzi admitted that there was a threat of extremism and radicalism in the 2024 elections. This was proven by the arrest of 59 suspected terrorists in Jakarta, Bekasi and Poso by Densus 88 during October 2023. Ali Fauzi revealed that the 59 suspected terrorists were known to be affiliated with the group of ex-convict Abdullah Umar, who had only been free from Nusakambangan for a year. They are said to be planning to disrupt the 2024 elections.

According to Ali Fauzi, the threat of radicalism always exists even though many of them have been arrested by Densus 88. This is because there are members of these radical groups who are still free and not small in number. The former Bali Bomb 1 combatant hopes that the 2024 elections can run safely and peacefully so that people can exercise their political rights according to their conscience. 

Facing potential disruption from radical groups and terrorism, collaboration between the government and society is very necessary. The government needs to improve overall security, both in the real world and in cyberspace. Strict law enforcement against radical actors and terrorists is a crucial step.

Ali Fauzi believes that there is a need to strengthen religious moderation programs that involve many elements of society to minimize the threat of religious-based violence in the 2024 elections. Not only the police, BNPT, Densus 88, but ulama scholars, NU, Muhammadiyah also need to be involved in the religious moderation program. Indonesia was born, grew and developed as a result of the contributions of religious scholars. Moreover, religious figures played quite a big role in giving birth to Pancasila.

This understanding is certainly different from the view of radical groups who consider religion and Pancasila to be opposites. This is actually a challenge for all elements of society to participate in providing understanding to this radical group. Radical groups certainly carry an ideological basis that they understand. Wrong understandings must be helped to be straightened out and embraced, not beaten down. Therefore, Ali Fauzi said, it is important to maximize religious moderation programs in order to minimize the development of radical ideologies that consider religion and Pancasila to be in conflict. 

In line with Ali Fauzi, anti-radicalism activist Ken Setiawan also said that national stability could be well maintained through synergy between ulama and umara. Ulama and umara must be wise in conveying sensitive issues, considering that Indonesia will face the 2024 elections. In this way, a conducive election atmosphere can be created. Because a democratic party should make people happy to choose a leader without having to be forced into sharp polarization. 

Education and public awareness also play an important role in overcoming radicalization. Educational programs that promote tolerance, pluralism and understanding of differences are instruments to prevent the formation of a support base for radical groups. Apart from that, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and mass media have a strategic role in detecting and reporting the activities of radical groups. Active involvement from various parties can help monitor developments in the situation and provide accurate information to the public.

It is important to build an inclusive political narrative and strengthen unity amidst differences. The participation of all parties, regardless of ethnicity, religion or class, is the key to the success of the election. In a conducive atmosphere, the potential for radical groups and terrorism can be minimized.

The 2024 election is a test of the maturity of Indonesian democracy. For this reason, in dealing with potential disruption from radical groups and terrorism, strong preventive measures are needed. By uniting the government, society and all elements of the nation, it is hoped that the 2024 election can be an event that can prove the strength of Indonesian democracy. Collective vigilance is the key to maintaining the integrity of the democratic process and ensuring that the people’s voice is truly reflected in the election results.

)* The author is a member of the Anti-Radicalism Community Coalition

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