Wednesday, August 22, 2018

IS-style Outfits for Independence Day Parade

Indonesian counterterrorism forces secure the site following a bomb attack outside a church in Surabaya, Indonesia on May 13, 2018. AFP Photo

Indonesia has endured a spate of deadly militant violence in recent years. 

The 17,000-island archipelago, which has the world's biggest Muslim population, witnessed Islamic State-inspired suicide bombings where at least 13 people were killed and dozens injured in a coordinated May 13, 2018 attack on three churches in Surabaya, Indonesia’s second largest city. 

A husband and wife, and their four children aged between nine and 18 – were the perpetrators of the worst attack the country has seen in more than a decade. 

Indonesia's deadliest terror attack was the 2002 Bali bombing which killed over 200 people. 

So, when pint-sized pretend-‘jihadists’ marched in black niqab veils and black robes and carrying cardboard cut-outs of assault rifles in public – you begin to wonder and worry what is this country coming to.

Organizers were left red-faced after a torrent of criticisms suggested the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria-style outfits promoted violence in a country that has long struggled with militant attacks. Photo: Twitter/@Rasjogja

The group of about 15 pre-schoolers from Kartika kindergarten had participated in an independence day parade last Friday in Probolinggo, a city on the north coast of East Java province. 

Their head teacher Suhartatik, who like many Indonesians goes by one name, had maintained that the gun replicas and full-body veils did not promote violence. 

She even attempted to justify her reckless stupidity: "We only used the props that we already had to cut costs for parents”. 

The costumes had been used in previous parades to teach students about the Prophet Muhammad's faith and beliefs, she said.

But her explanation was met with derision on Indonesian social media. 

"Nobody carried assault rifles in the prophet's time – is this teacher that clueless about history or was she just trying to dodge the blame?" one user posted on Twitter. 

Another tweeted: "Obviously the seeds of ISIS are being nurtured early on". 

Even Indonesian parliamentary Speaker Bambang Soesatyo lashed out at what he dubbed a "very concerning case". 

"Parents and teachers should protect children from damaging their way of thinking", he told news site Detik. 

Parade organisers said they were embarrassed for failing to notice the provocative outfits.

Stupidity is really contagious.

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