Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Jakarta, Sept. 22, 2009 (ANTARA) - Despite the recent death of top terrorist Noordin M Top, President Yudhoyono has warned that it does not mean that the terrorist network in Southeast Asia, especially in Indonesia, has been paralyzed.

The head of state`s statement was supported by various officials and elements including Ansyaad Mbai, head of the political, legal and security coordinating ministry`s anti-terror desk.

The fight against terrorism was not finished with the death of Southeast Asian terrorist leader Noordin M Top and his three associates, Mbai said here recently following the police`s successful raid in Solo, Central Java, last September 17, 2009 in which Noordin M Top was killed.

"We should not be too overjoyed about the death of Noordin M top and his associates, because the threat of terrorism still exists in Indonesia. What we should do is to continue addressing the root of the problem," Ansyaad Mbai said.

The government viewed radicalism as the root of terrorism, therefore it has long been implementing a de-radicalization program, especially in the wake of the series of terrorist bombings since 2002, he said.

However, the government`s deradicalization program to fight terrorism is not easy to implement and has so far not yielded optimum results.

"It concerns one`s ideology which is not so easy to change. So, this program has so far not yielded optimum results," Ansyaad Mbai said.

The program involved prominent religious figures, Islamic scholars (ulema), and Islamic boarding school (`pesantren`) teachers and was designed to rectify the misconceived or distorted Islamic teachings adhered to by terrorists, according to the national security official.

The government has also been cooperating with several other countries such as Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Afghanistan in implementing the program, among other things by inviting their ulemas to Indonesia and distributing books on Islam to correct the radicals` misunderstandings about Islamic teachings.

The government would not give up in dealing with the root of the terrorism , although changing one`s ideology proved to take a very long time and to be not easy, he said.

The security agencies still did not know much about the network Noordin had built up but it had to be assumed he had recruited followers, trained them in bomb-making, and they were still around, he said. He had earlier said Noordin`s peers such as Dul Matin, Umar Patek and Upik Lawanga were still at large.

Following the bombings of JW Marriott and Ritz Carlton hotels in Jakarta, last July 2009, which killed nine people, including foreigners, there was a discourse on possible monitoring Islamic preaches in mosques and pesantren, as several terror suspects were alumni of pesantren.

The Indonesian police were reportedly to conduct an operation called "Condition Creation Operation", which would include a monitoring of preaching activities in order to minimize preaching that might provoke terrorism.

However, following a public controversy pn the monitoring plan, National Police Chief General Bambang Hendarso Danuri issued a statement to the effect that the police would not control preachers, and affirming that religious propagation was not under the police`s authority but the religious affairs ministry.

An associate leader of the Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) Islamic organization, KH Masdar Farid Mas`udi, said he could understand the police`s intention to monitor sermons in mosques.

"It is understandable because there are signs that sermons are being used to fuel hatred against others just because those others have different views or beliefs," Mas`udi said in Jakarta recently.

Meanwhile, the Lirboyo Islamic boarding school in Kediri, East Java, has tightened procedures for admission of new students as a precautionary measure against possible infiltration by terrorist elements.

"We record every new student that comes to the school. We also ask for the copies of their IDs," the school`s board member, Ahmad Rofingi, said recently.

Negative claims about Islamic boarding schools as hideouts of terrorists had made students uneasy, he said.

A Maluku Muslim community figure has reminded the police not to commit "character assassination" against Muslims in monitoring Islamic preaching activity.

"Police are free to monitor (preaching activity), but the mechanism should be in line with the police`s existing procedures and based on the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad SAW (peace be upon him). So that it would not disturb the activity of preachers at mosques and pesantren," Husein Toisuta, chairman of the Maluku organizing committee for Islamic holidays, said in Ambon sometime ago.

"Please make sure that the monitoring targets only those suspected to be terrorists, and it must not marginalize Muslims," he said.

Although it was true that some of those who had committed terrorism were graduates of `pesantren`, still it should not be generalized, he said.

In Palembang, Chairman of South Sumatra`s Ulema (Islamic Scholar) Council Sodikun said that it is wrong to relate Muslim prominent figures with terrorists.

If there were terrorists who happened to be religious figures, it had nothing to do with their religious teachings, according to him.

Although the US was not openly mentioned by Indonesia`s officials as a country which had helped `moderation` of the country`s Muslims, an article entitled "Hearts, Minds and Dollars" written by David E Kaplan, in US News.com, on April 17, 2005, revealed the US` role in countries like Indonesia, Egypt and Pakistan.

"After repeated missteps since the 9/11 attacks, the U.S. government has embarked on a campaign of political warfare unmatched since the height of the Cold War. From military psychological-operations teams and CIA covert operatives to openly funded media and think tanks, Washington is plowing tens of millions of dollars into a campaign to influence not only Muslim societies but Islam itself," Kaplan wrote.

In at least two dozen countries, Washington has quietly funded Islamic radio and TV shows, coursework in Muslim schools, Muslim think tanks, political workshops, or other programs that promote moderate Islam, through a strategy called Muslim World Outreach, he wrote.

The US` partners included allied Muslim states, private foundations, and nonprofit groups who share values like democracy, women`s rights, and tolerance, he added.

"In no country is the effort more pronounced than Indonesia, the world`s largest Muslim nation, with 240 million people. A bastion of moderate Islam, the nation has nevertheless given birth to several radical Islamic groups that include al Qaeda offshoot Jemaah Islamiyah, responsible for the 2002 Bali bombings that killed 202," Kaplan wrote.

Working behind the scenes, USAID now helps fund over 30 Muslim organizations in Indonesia. Among the programs: media production, workshops for Islamic preachers, and curriculum reform for schools from rural academies to Islamic universities, according to the US News article.

Internally, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has repeatedly called on all components of the Indonesian community to keep striving to build a noble Islamic civilization which would benefit all the people.

In his Idul Fitri greetings at the end of the Islamic fasting month, on September 19, 2009, the head of state said "Let us keep building an Islamic civilization as a blessing for the whole world. Islam loves peace, justice and brotherhood. Let us move forward with full optimism and keep working together to build a better future," he said.

In an address to the nation ahead of Independence Day, last August 2009, President Yudhoyono stated Indonesia would not be defeated by terrorism.



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