Displaying your ignorance again.
October 21 2002
Indonesia's moderate Muslim organisations demanded today that authorities crack down against religious extremists, who they said represent a fringe minority among the country's 170 million Muslims.
Former Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid said he believed that Abu Bakar Bashir, the spiritual leader of a group suspected in last week's Bali bombing, should have been arrested long ago.
"I believe that Bashir is a terrorist," Wahid said in a radio interview.
Wahid, who was replaced as head of state by Megawati Sukarnoputri last year, has been sharply critical of her administration's cautious approach toward radicals.
Wahid's organization, Nahdlatul Ulama - whose 40 million members make it the world's largest Muslim grouping - and the 30-million member Muhammadiyah both urged the government to act more decisively against small groups of militants such as Jemaah Islamiyah, which is suspected in the October 12 nightclub bombing in Bali that killed at least 180 people and injured around 300.
Their leaderships say that groups like Jemaah Islamiah or Laskar Jihad - a recently disbanded paramilitary gang blamed for waging a religious war against the Christian minority in the Maluku islands - are a tiny minority in Indonesia, the world's largest Muslim nation.
Megawati has already signed an emergency decree that allows terrorist suspects to be detained for up to six months without charge, but religious moderates have called on her administration to implement even tougher anti-terrorist legislation.
"We badly need such regulations to prevent terrorist attacks," said Hazim Muzadi, Nahdlatul Ulama's chairman. "All countries have similar laws."
Their calls came as authorities considered how to interrogate Bashir, Jemaah Islamiyah's ailing leader. He was arrested Saturday on suspicion of involvement in a series of church bombings two years ago.
Bashir, who has been in hospital since Friday, denies any links with terrorism.
Several dozen Islamic students continued their vigil Monday outside the hospital in the town of Solo where he is being treated for breathing problems. They have vowed to block police from removing the cleric from the hospital. Armed policemen stood by but did not intervene in the demonstration.
Bashir's doctors said he was improving and could be released in two or three days.
Police are considering confining the cleric to Solo under police supervision, or taking him to a police hospital in Jakarta and holding him there.
Three explosions suspected
In Bali, Gen. Edward Aritonang, a national police spokesman, said Sunday that authorities now believe that three explosions destroyed Paddy's pub and Sari's nightclub on the island of Bali.
Previously, police assumed an initial, smaller blast damaged Paddy's seconds before a much more powerful explosion at nearby Sari's, causing most of the casualties.
It was not immediately known how they later concluded there were three explosions.
Aritonang said authorities believed there was no link between the nightclub attack and a grenade blast near the office of the honorary U.S. consul at about the same time. There were no casualties in the grenade attack.
The investigation - conducted jointly by more than 100 investigators from Indonesia, Australia, the United States, Britain and other countries - was proceeding well, Aritonang said.
"There has been some progress now," Aritonang told reporters.
Warning of the threat of new terrorist attacks, Australia urged its citizens to leave Indonesia. The United States advised Americans to put off travel to the country.
Other countries in South-East Asia have said they would tighten security.