News analysis

Extreme preachers could trigger tensions, harm if left unchecked

A large crowd listening to Mr Somad speaking on Madura island on May 21. Online clerics like him often use religion and identity politics to sway public opinion. PHOTO: USTADZABDULSOMAD_OFFICIAL/INSTAGRAM
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JAKARTA - It has been two weeks since controversial Indonesian preacher Abdul Somad Batubara was denied entry into Singapore for his segregationist and extremist teachings.

The issue has blown up in the media, partly owing to his legion of Internet fans - there are 6.5 million on Instagram, 2.72 million on YouTube and 709,000 on Facebook.

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