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Wednesday, 19 September, 2001, 18:42 GMT 19:42 UK
Megawati warns against reprisals
President Megawati
President Megawati leads the world's most populous Muslim nation
Indonesian President Megawati Sukarnoputri has warned the US president against action which could be interpreted as revenge against Muslims.

She was speaking in Washington, where on Wednesday she was the first leader of an Islamic country to meet George W Bush since last week's terrorist attacks.

Laskar Jihad members
Laskar Jihad movement in the Moluccas claims to have been helped by Bin Laden
Megawati strongly condemned the attacks on New York and Washington.

George W Bush used the meeting to try and rally support from countries which may be unwilling to play an overt military role.

He called for all kind of support to try and track down the perpetrators of the attacks.

"Help us round up these people. You can play a constructive role," he said.

The attacks have been blamed on Islamic extremists linked to Osama Bin Laden.

Quest for allies

The Indonesian president is the leader of the world's largest Muslim country.

The BBC's Jakarta correspondent says that Indonesia has long been viewed by the international community as a model of tolerant Islam.

But in recent years that image has been tarnished by the growth of a number of radical Muslim groups.

Moluccas map
The most prominent, Laskar Jihad, has been directly involved in the conflict between the Christian and Muslim communities in the Moluccan Islands, in which thousands of people have been killed.

Its leader, Jaffar Umar Thalib, claims to have received training in Afghanistan.

In a statement following the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, he described those responsible as brave, heroic young men angered by American arrogance. He said the United States should learn its lesson.

Our correspondent says that President Bush must be hoping for assurances from Megawati that she can control such extremist groups.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Richard Galpin in Jakarta
"The support of the leader of the world's largest Muslim nation would be a major boost for Mr Bush"
See also:

17 Sep 01 | Americas
Bush seeks Muslim support
11 Sep 01 | South Asia
Who is Osama Bin Laden?
20 Jun 00 | Asia-Pacific
Who are the Laskar Jihad?
23 Jul 01 | Asia-Pacific
Profile: Megawati Sukarnoputri
14 Sep 01 | Americas
Islam: Faith under fire
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