Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Yudhoyono's appeal is a joke

The appeal was made to all Muslims living in the country. The anti-terrorism chief has warned that the fundamentalist threat is real and present.

Jakarta (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Indonesia's president today called on Muslims in the country “to respect the law and not use intimidation and violence”. The appeal came amid a spiral of violence carried out in the name of the faith in the world's most populous Islamic nation.

In recent years, Indonesia has been hit by a series of bloody bombings by Jemaah Islamiyah, the local arm of al-Qaeda that has struck “western” targets like churches and embassies.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has been harshly criticized for failing to speak out clearly against the violence sweeping away Indonesia’s traditions of religious tolerance and moderation.

His appeal was made more urgent by the statement of one leader of the national army, General Ansyaad Mbai, who said today: “Those responsible for the latest attacks against the nation remain a threat, despite the recent arrest of more than 300 members.”

The soldier, head of the anti-terrorism services, said during a meeting with the media and Jakarta’s diplomatic corps that “stopping some extremist leaders does not mean we have defeated terrorism. The threat is real and present”.

Indonesia has more than 220 million residents; around 80% are Muslims but Islam is less radical here than it is in the Middle East. The United States and other western nations continue to support the local government, seen as a border stronghold against terrorism.

Where's the denouncement of Laskar Jihad, Abu Bakr Ba'asyir's MMI, FPI (Islamic Defender's Front) and other terrorist paramilitary like that? This is just lip service. The Indonesian army trains with Laskar Jihad in Papua and previously worked with them in the past in Poso and Maluku. The police were also involved with militants in the killing of Christians in Poso and Maluku. When will the lies stop about Indonesia's religious tolerance? The government turned a blind eye to those conflicts. Some government politicians and certain Islamic political parties like the United Development Party (PPP), Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), and the Star and Crescent Party(PBB) continue to support militants. Former vice-president Hamzah Haz visited convicted criminal and leader of the Laskar Jihad, Jafar Umar Thalib, while he was in jail.

Yudhoyono recently had the opportunity to halt the execution of three Christian men who didn't get a fair trial and he let the men be executed. Islamic militants continue to hijack trials involving non-Muslims and impose their will by threats of violence against the defendants and the judges. When is the government going to stop this? Yudhoyono should continue to be criticized by the international community until Indonesia corrects its behavior and guarantees tolerance for all. Until then, it should drop the use of calling itself a secular nation and use Islamic republic, which is how it acts.

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