Saturday, August 15, 2009

Indonesia: Seeds of terror nurtured as teaching of hate proliferates

Indonesia is facing an ongoing struggle against terrorists, their extremist supporters and fi rebrand clerics as counter-terror forces move in those linked with the Jakarta hotel bombings. It is becoming evident that extremist Islam, while not supported by the majority in Indonesia, is still treated with a high degree of public permissiveness, complacency from the government and silence by Islamic parties.

Radical cleric Abubakar Ba'asyir attempted to reignite Islamic extremist sentiments Thursday as he oversaw the hero's welcome for the bodies of deceased terrorists Air Setyawan and Eko Joko Sarjono in Sragen, Central Java. Hundreds of hard-line Muslims lined the streets to praise the men, who are widely believed to be responsible for the Jakarta hotel bombings on July 17 that killed nine and left dozens wounded.

Before his followers, Abubakar declared Air and Eko as Mujahid (a person involved in Jihad or fi ghting in the name of Islam), which is considered the highest honor to be granted to a Muslim. Fears are mounting that Abubakar's statements may fuel younger followers of Islam, some of whom are exposed to extremism in their Islamic boarding schools and small prayer groups, to empathize with terrorist ideology.
Efforts to infl uence youngsters with radical ideologies has already been widely reported throughout Indonesia, with certain fi rebrand clerics directing messages of anger at "infi dels" and the Muslims who support them.

The acceptance of such teachings has started to creep into Indonesia's middle class.
A weekly sermon involving housewives in a residential area in Pamulang, Tanggerang - just 5 kilometers from South Jakarta - happily agreed to a request from their clerics to donate money to cover the burial expenses of terrorist Imam Samudra, who was executed in November 2008. The donations were also used for other practices related to the "spread of God's will", which includes Jihad. These occurrences, however, seem to be ignored by Islamic political parties, notably the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), now the nation's largest Islamic political powerhouse.
Senior offi cials with the PKS historically had links to the now defunct Darul Islam movement, which pushed for Indonesia to become an Islamic state. Analysts say the party has so far played little to no role trying to diffuse radical teachings.
Yudhoyono, despite declaring terrorism a crime against humanity, has not yet prioritized the establishment of any programs aimed at softening radicalism movements and preventing the emergency of future terrorist sympathizers. Programs should include measures for identifying potentially radical clerics and for reforming convicted terrorists in prison.

Excerpts from The Jakarta Post's Rendi Akhmad Witular and Andra Wisnu additional reporting by Dicky Christanto in Jakarta, Blontank Poer and Suherdjoko in Surakarta, Central Java.

No comments:

Post a Comment