Skip to comments.Support mounts for Indonesian Islamic extremists: report
Posted on 12/08/2004 10:00:54 PM PST by miltonim
Support mounts for Indonesian Islamic extremists: report The latest research on attitudes of Indonesian Muslims suggests a far greater acceptance of Islamic extremism than previously thought.
The report's release comes as Australia's and Indonesia's foreign ministers host the International Dialogue on Interfaith Cooperation with the Muhammadiyah, the country's second largest Islamic organisation with some 30 million members.
Archbishop of Sydney George Pell will attend as well as leading lights in the Buddhist and Muslim communities from overseas, in the hope that the voices of moderation will drown out religious radicalism.
When Australia Foreign Minister Alexander Downer opens the summit in Yogyakarta it will be, he says, part of a campaign to see moderates of different faiths help address the problems of extremism and religious violence.
The Australian and the Indonesian governments have insisted that despite the Bali, Marriott and Australian Embassy bombings, the radicals like Imam Samudra, Amrozi and Azahari have little support among Indonesian Muslims.
However researcher Saiful Mujani of Jakarta's Freedom Institute now believes Indonesia's Muslims are less moderate than governments and academics suggest.
"The rhetoric claiming that there is no problem in the society to me that's too simplistic, that's wishful thinking," he said.
The Freedom Institute's survey of 1400 people across Indonesia, found that less than 60 per cent of Muslims disagreed with Imam Samudra and Dr Azahari's bombing campaigns.
Sixteen per cent, representing tens of millions of Indonesians, agreed with the bombers and another 25 per cent refused to disagree.
"There is a significant number of Indonesians, at least half, [who] do not have a negative reaction to that and they agree with silence at least, or protect this kind of activity," Mr Mujani said.
The survey also found that the 40 per cent who had heard of Jemaah Islamiah, a third of them supported the extremist group, 25 per cent wanted Christian teachers banned in state schools, 40 per cent want the chopping off of hands included in the justice system.
The motivation spelt out in the surveys suggests American foreign policy, particularly in Iraq and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, is feeding the numbers supporting radicalism.
Details of the negative attitudes to America and Australia revealed in the survey have been held back by the US Embassy in Jakarta, which funded the poll.
But those figures reveal negative sentiment towards Australia.
"It's negative, even though it's not that strong compared to America, but it's negative," Mr Mujani said.
Representatives from the 10-member Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN), Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and East Timor are expected to attend the conference.
The correct term is Islamic Fundamentalism.