Indonesia’s bid to root out Islamists throws spotlight on universities

“Radical organizations can spread like a virus in universities"

When students at Indonesia’s prestigious Institute of Agricultural Studies swore an oath to support a caliphate in the world’s largest Muslim-majority country last year, a video of the event went viral and the government grew alarmed.

Months later, Indonesian President Joko Widodo banned the decades-old hardline group Hizb ut-Tahrir Indonesia (HTI), which organized the student pledge, and declared its goal to set up a caliphate was incompatible with the constitution and could threaten security.

Last month, under prodding from the government, thousands of students across the nation made an anti-radicalism pledge. It followed an unprecedented gathering in late September of some 3,000 academics in Bali, who also pledged to fight extremism and defend the secular constitution.

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