Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono says that the world is trying to portray Muslims as terrorists. “Certainly Muslims will reject being regarded as the masterminds of terrorism in this world.” Well, certainly there are other terrorist groups in the world, but which one has a global extension anything like that of Islamic radicalism? Also, while of course not all Muslims are terrorists, Islamic terrorists do make extensive use of Islamic theology and law to justify their actions. I’d be interested to know what, if anything, Yudhoyono is doing to counter their recruitment initiatives in the Islamic world. From AFP, with thanks to Stephen Bloch:
“We truly feel sad if world opinion, deliberately or not, aims to put Muslims in a corner as identical with violence and terrorism,” he was quoted as saying by the official Antara news agency in a speech welcoming the end of the fasting month of Ramadan.
“Certainly Muslims will reject being regarded as the masterminds of terrorism in this world,” said Yudhoyono, who took office last month vowing to fight such violence.
Over the past two years Indonesia has been hit by three major bombings which authorities blame on the Jemaah Islamiyah regional extremist group.
The most serious attack killed 202 people on the resort island of Bali in October, 2002. A bombing at the JW Marriott hotel in Jakarta last year killed 12 while the most recent attack, the month before Yudhoyono took office, killed 11 people outside the Australian embassy.
Yudhoyono said Islam taught peace and justice. “We are ordered to keep away from violence and arbitrary acts,” he said before calls of “Allah-o-Akbar (God is the greatest)” floated over Jakarta yesterday morning as the faithful gathered for prayers following a night of celebrations.