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Thursday, 20 September, 2001, 14:59 GMT 15:59 UK
Indonesian Muslims wary of promises
Megawati and President Bush
Bush offered $400m aid to Indonesia
The chairman of one of Indonesia's largest Muslim organisations has said he is not satisfied with assurances by US President George W Bush that his campaign against terrorism will not be anti-Muslim.

The war against terrorism is not a war against Muslims, nor is it a war against Arabs

President Bush
The US regards Indonesia - the world's most populous Muslim nation - as a key potential ally in its efforts to build an international coalition against worldwide terrorism

President Bush promised Indonesia a $400m trade-and-aid package when he met the Indonesian President, Megawati Sukarnoputri, on Wednesday.

He also offered reassurances that he intended to conduct a war against terrorism, not against Muslims or Arabs.

'It is a war against evil people who conduct crimes against innocent people,' he said.

Muslim doubts

But the chairman of the Muslim group Muhammadiyah, Dr Syafii Maarif, told the BBC he opposed any American retaliation in the absence of proof against the man named as the main suspect, Osama Bin Laden.

Laskar Jihad members
Laskar Jihad movement in the Moluccas claims to have been helped by Bin Laden
The comments came as scores of Muslim students protested outside the US consulate in Indonesia's second-largest city, Surabaya.

Riot police were called in to stop the group from entering the consulate in the East Java capital, 675km (420 miles) east of Jakarta.

But the parliamentary speaker, Amien Rais, has said that Indonesian Muslims are moderate and the fundamentalist threat there is insignificant.

Tarnished image

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.

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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