Indonesia: Making the Most of Misbehaving Moslems


July 20, 2007: Responding to protests from Christians in the Maluku islands, the government removed the senior military commander on the island. This time, it was because the military attacked and arrested local Christians who waved a separatist flag when the Indonesian president visited last month. The problem is that many Indonesians, including military and political leaders, are hostile to Christians, especially separatist Christians. Islamic radicals call for violence against non-Moslems, and the government does little to contradict such calls for "holy war." This hands off attitude helps keep the Islamic radicals in business. The government does not want to appear anti-Islamic, and even moderate Moslems are ready to support anyone who accuses the government of that. So the government has to play the "more Moslem than thou" game with the media, and tends to look the other way when Islamic radicals get violent against non-Moslems, or what are perceived as misbehaving Moslems (having a drink or hanging out in a nightclub). Indonesia is a place where most Moslems misbehave, at least by al Qaeda standards. Islamic radicals have even been able to launch a lawsuit calling for the disbanding of the most effective counter-terrorism unit, Densus (unit) 88, because it is "hostile to Islam." The suit has a chance of succeeding.

July 12, 2007: East Timor has a new government, a coalition. The Fretilin (Revolutionary Front for an Independent East Timor) party, which led the effort to gain independence from Indonesia, saw its share of the vote go from 57 percent to 29 percent. The country is broke, unemployment is over 30 percent, and there are tribal divisions that have already led to much violence and crime. There's not much optimism for a quick solution.




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