The Muslim nation where ISIS is free to recruit

Indonesia-man-wears-ISIS-headbandA Muslim man wears a headband showing ISIS’ symbol during a protest calling for the closure of a local prostitution complex in Surabaya Indonesia, June 18, 2014.

CIANJUR, Indonesia — A businessman who proclaims himself leader of the Indonesian chapter of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group says he has personally overseen the departure of scores of fighters from this Southeast Asian nation to Syria and Iraq. Police detained him for a night recently, but were unable to charge him with a crime.

Chep Hernawan reflects both the success ISIS has had in attracting support in the region, and the challenges Indonesia faces in responding.

The government, home to most of the up to 200 Southeast Asians believed to be fighting in Syria and Iraq, has forcefully spoken out against ISIS, as have mainstream Muslim organizations in the country. But translating that into stronger legal tools that could stop suspected militants from traveling abroad, for example, will be a challenge given the fractious nature of the next parliament and other legislative priorities, according to a recent report into the evolution of ISIS by the Institute of Policy Analysis for Conflict…