Konradus Epa, Jakarta – The Indonesian government says it aims to purge the country's civil service of people who support or have links to Islamic hardline groups after revealing that hundreds of thousands of government employees have been influenced by radical ideology.
Many have already been arrested and that at least one had carried out a terrorist attack on a church, a government minister and Catholic Church official said.
The warning was issued in a circular letter signed by Administrative and Bureaucratic Reform Minister Tjahjo Kumolo and National Civil Service Agency head Bima Haria Wibisana. It was dated Jan. 25 but announced to the public on Jan. 28.
Indonesia has more than 4,3 million civil servants and at least 800,000 have been influenced by radical ideology, according to the Administrative and Bureaucratic Reform Ministry.
Any links, directly and indirectly, to terror organizations such as Jemaah Islamiyah, an al-Qaeda affiliate, or Islamic State ally Jamaah Ansharut Daulah will result in dismissal and likely prosecution.
Dismissal also awaits those with ties to banned hardline groups such as Hizb ut-Tahrir Indonesia and the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI).
Supporters of such organizations reject the national secular ideology of Pancasila (five principles) and constitution, which would make a civil servant's status untenable, the ministry letter said, adding some people had been found to be actively involved with terror networks.
"Dozens of civil servants involved in terrorism cases have been arrested in the last few years. So, the time has come to root them out before they can cause damage," Kumolo said.
Various governmental institutions have been infiltrated, according to Father Paulus Christian Siswantoko, executive secretary of the Indonesian bishops' Commission for the Laity.
He said one of the suicide bombers who attacked three churches in Surabaya, East Java, in 2018 was a civil servant.
"Action needs to be taken now. Even those who are just dismissed should be re-educated so that they can realize how destructive and divisive extremism is," he told UCA News.
Father Antonius Benny Susetyo, a member of a presidential unit promoting religious tolerance, says there is no excuse for government employees following such a path.
"A civil servant takes an oath to be loyal to the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia and Pancasila. They must accept the consequences for violating it," he told UCA News.