Indonesia’s Next Challenge

Jakarta is winning the war on terror, but not the war against radicalism.

Indonesia notched another victory in its war on Islamic terror this month when a court sentenced Abu Bakar Bashir for 15 years. Mr. Bashir, the spiritual leader of Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), the al Qaeda affiliate behind the 2002 Bali bombings, was convicted of supporting a terrorist training camp. But while Jakarta has gotten serious about the legal prosecution of this war, it still lags in the ideological struggle against Islamic fundamentalism.

Indonesia’s counterterror forces, notably the elite Detachment 88, have pursued radical groups with commendable tenacity, killing top JI leaders like Noordin Mohamed Top. Detachment 88 also disbanded Mr. Bashir’s training camp in Aceh, Sumatra, so it’s no wonder he dubbed the unit “God’s enemies.”

While Mr. Bashir is safely behind bars, his hateful teachings continue to spread. Extremists are harassing the Ahmadiyya sect, which orthodox Muslims consider heretical, as well as Christians. In Cikeusik, Banten province in February, a mob attacked the local Ahmadiyya community, killing three; in Cisalada, West Java, an Ahmadiyya mosque was burned in October.

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Categories: Indonesia

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