Hon. Alwi Shihab, special envoy of the president to the Middle East and to the Organization for Islamic Cooperation, Indonesia, expressed surprise at the widespread support for ISIS. “It is baffling because ISIS' ideology goes against the core teachings of Islam, which promotes peace, tranquility and brotherhood.” As explanation, for many Muslims, Islam is intrinsically interwoven with the doctrine of armed jihad and supremacy over non-Muslims, he said, and many Muslims in the Arab-speaking countries have a long history of hostility against non-Muslims. Nevertheless, “a majority of Muslims in both the non-Arabic and Arabic-speaking world believe that the ISIS religious orientation and beliefs are not in line with the peaceful, tolerant and inclusive nature of Islamic teachings.”
Regarding Islam in Indonesia, which has the largest Muslim population in the world, he quoted the historian Dr. Theodore Friend: “Indonesia's Islam is the smiling face of Islam in contrast to the angry radical and literalist Islam of ISIS.” Dr. Shihab described Indonesia and its tolerance and inclusiveness as the “right representation of true Islam,” although admittedly violent Islamist groups do exist, as evidenced by the 2002 Bali bombing and the 2003 Marriott Hotel bombing in Indonesia. Dr. Shihab called for the Indonesian and global Muslim community to take “a proactive stance to promote the true teachings of the religion of Islam, where the idea of living in harmony with all peoples from different religions is not only an act of tolerance but becomes an ordinary aspect of everyday human life.” Indonesian Muslims have “always rejected religious extremism and radicalism and continue to promote tolerance and religious harmony.” Dr. Shihab considers extremism and terrorism as global challenges, and says the moderate version of Islam should be encouraged as the best way to contain the radical Islamic movements.