Indonesia: Islamic Radicalism Backfires


p> June 5, 2008: While local Islamic radicals have backed away from violent terrorism (bombs), and instead concentrated on harassing others to become more religiously conservative, this has not worked either. Indonesians are pretty tolerant and easy going, but they have their limits. Now those limits have been reached, and there are popular calls for the government to outlaw the Islamic conservative activist groups. Several recent incidents brought this on. In the Malukus, Islamic conservatives burned down a Christian village, killed four Christians and wounded several dozen. Shortly after that, Islamic radicals attacked a religious tolerance rally, wounding 70 people. This, combined with recent revelations of how Islamic terrorists still operate in the country, supported by groups based in mosques and universities, created a popular backlash. The attack on the rally was televised, and showed Islamic radicals attacking women and children. Sort of the last straw. Now there are calls to outlaw the Islamic radical groups. For years, the government had hesitated to do that, fearful that there would be popular support for the religious radicals. Now it is obvious that this is not the case. The Islamic radicals, true to form, have threatened to violently resist any attempts to shut them down. This could get ugly, in a country that gave the world the word, "amok." But this time, it's the Islamic radicals who are likely to be the victims. To try and prevent that, police have arrested 57 members of the Islamic Defenders' Front.

Islamic radicals have also been overshadowed by angry mobs protesting higher fuel (government subsidies have been removed) and food prices. Religion is considered less important than eating and driving.

May 25, 2008: The U.S. has lifted its traveler warning for Indonesia, because it's been over 30 months since the last terrorist attack there. It is also believed that Islamic conservative violence is on the wane as well.

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