BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: Talking Point  
News Front Page
Middle East
South Asia
Talking Point
Country Profiles
In Depth
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
Thursday, 24 October, 2002, 20:40 GMT 21:40 UK
Is Indonesia doing enough on terror?
The Indonesian Government has come under increasing pressure to crack down on suspected terrorist groups in the week following the bombing of the Sari nightclub in Bali.

On Friday President Megawati signed two emergency decrees enacting anti-terrorism legislation that had languished in parliament.

Indonesian police have made their first high profile arrest since the attack, putting Muslim cleric Abu Bakar Ba'asyir under guard, after he collapsed on Friday ahead of being questioned in connection with bomb attacks on churches in 2000.

The cleric is suspected of leading the Jemaah Islamiah group - a charge he denies. Indonesia has linked Jemaah Islamiah to the al-Qaeda network.

Is Indonesia doing enough to crack down on terrorism? Will human rights suffer? What action do you think it should take against suspected terrorist groups?

This Talking Point debate has now finished. Thank you for your comments.

Have your say

I'd say the Indonesian government is acting to counter terrorism - now. Before the Bali bomb, it seemed that everyone in the government wanted to be quoted saying there were no terrorists in Indonesia, and that the very idea was probably an American plot to discredit the country. Most of the postings here seem to already assume the culprits were international Muslim terrorists, but hopefully the investigation team, made up of experts from several countries, will investigate all possibilities, including elements of the armed forces being involved and even the ridiculous (but here in Indonesia, much believed! )theory that the CIA did it...
J Ransel, Medan, Indonesia

The Indonesia government has been placed in a difficult position. They have to balance economic and social security together with religion and politics. Yet, even if such a balance were achieved, it would still be impossible to eliminate the threat of terrorists, considering the religious vulnerability of the country. Help from US would be trivial due to geographical and religious distances. What Indonesia needs most is the combined aid of her neighbours, countries in South East Asia, to form a more effective coalition against the terrorists.
Ho Junyi, Singapore

I hope the international community would understand our situation

Erlangga, Indonesia
Megawati has to act somehow, and it is up to her to make a fine balance between the two and to educate the vast moderate Muslim mainstream that any crackdown, is a crackdown on extremism, not on religion. I hope the international community would understand our situation and complexities
Erlangga, Indonesia

I do not understand why western countries become so desperate when their citizens are killed in terrorist attacks. They seem to ignore terrorism supported and promoted against other countries by some terrorist regimes. Pakistani terrorism directed against India took 800 lives during current Jammu & Kashmir elections, but the west is turning a blind eye. Double standards!
Jatin, India

In a world of global trade and global communications you cannot expect high security in any one country to do anything more than make an attack somewhere else more likely. Maybe they'll attack the British holidaying in Spain, maybe the Americans in Mexico, who knows. Good intelligence and financial controls are the only way to fight terrorism and sooner everyone realises this instead of flag waving and military posturing the better.
Phillip Holley, UK

What more is there that they can do without returning to a oppressive state?

Mark, Bali
I believe they are doing all they can now. What more is there that they can do without returning to a oppressive state? They allowed the FBI and other countries' intelligence services in to help investigate. They have signed the anti-terrorist decrees, which were supported by all the main Muslim parties. They have immediately acted under those decrees arresting the cleric Abu Bakar Ba'asyir and accused his deputy of being directly involved. They have the police and army checking every vehicle coming into the Bali ferry ports.
Mark, Bali & Thailand

Having just returned from a 2-week holiday in Bali, I am astonished to see how the international press and UK Government have handled the Bali bombing. There had been warnings in the past 3 months of a possible attack, but so were there warnings in many other countries. We were staying in Nusa Dua (20 minutes from Kuta) and had it not been for my family in the UK, I would not have known about the bomb for about 48 hours when the hotel provided a letter to all residents about the current circumstances in Kuta. The beaches were not empty, in certain resorts, including Nusa Dua, tourism was still thriving. We did not consider cutting our holiday short and give in to the terrorists. There is just a big a risk of a terrorist attack in London as there is anywhere else in the world. It is unfair to ask whether Indonesia is doing enough to the quash the fear of terrorism. Why make more problems for the world when the problem of terrorism that is so hugely evident at present should be at the top of every leaders agenda.
Rich, UK

The question poses one of the roots of the problem. Indonesia is vilified for not doing enough, yet it really the West that has not done enough. al-Qaeda and their links were forgotten for the sake of a war against Iraq. Indonesia needs to act intelligently and with the support, not the berating, of other countries. If Indonesia acts foolishly under pressure to make us think we're safer, first it is the Indonesians who suffer, then as terrorism is exported, the rest of us.
barry b, UK

In its present form the country is simply ungovernable.

Tony S, Indonesia
I have lived in Indonesia for over 5 years now. The government here has a long history of tolerating abuses of civil society by Muslim fringe groups (Laksah Jihad etc) and is moving only under considerable pressure to tighten its legal framework. However, as with so many things in this chaotic, beautiful and benighted country, the problem is not about a lack of legislation but about its enforcement. Even with a modern, committed and well trained police and military, it would be impossible to actively police and control this sprawling archipelago. In its present form the country is simply ungovernable.
Tony S, Indonesia

It is too little, too late. The Indonesian government has acted under extreme pressure from the world community. But do they have the political will to bring the Islamic organization indulging in the acts of terrorism in Indonesia to justice? The Australians are watching.
S. Parkash, Australia

As a moderate Muslim in Indonesia, which by the way is the vast majority; I am totally disgusted to hear about the blast and its horrific toll on innocent lives, the local and national economy and leaving a forever tarnished image for my country as a hotbed of international terrorism. It is such an ironic paradox as the reason as to why the controlling grip on Islamic and other religious extremist groups are loosened to near freedom is because the once draconian anti-subversion laws in the Suharto-era were abolished and that the security forces' morale is at an all time low due to its brutal, yet admittedly effective methods of its past.

It is Indonesia who suffered most from the Bali bombs but our country is being lambasted for not doing enough to stem terrorism

Rudolf Lumentut, Indonesia
The outside world seems to overlook the fact that it is Indonesia who suffered most from the Bali bombs but our country is being lambasted for not doing enough to stem terrorism. Did the US do enough to avert September 11? I wonder what the reaction might be if the next terrorism attack is on UK soil.
Rudolf Lumentut, Indonesia

As shown in the past the Indonesian government has put on the "blinkers." What happened in East Timor? Look at other regions in Indonesia where killing is an everyday event. I think the new law passed by the government allowing people suspected of having terrorist links to be held for 12 months without trial very frightening, Papua for instance! I pray that out of evil will come good.
Helen, Australia

Indonesia needs help to build better democratic institutions and an efficient judiciary, not corrupt generals kowtowing to US Foreign Policy. I am not saying that groups like Jemaah Islamiyah do not have any connections with al-Qaeda, they probably have, but they also have there own agenda. This agenda is not so much fighting the USA, but to create an Islamic state.
Karl, Sweden

The Indonesian Government can get this problem of worldwide terror solved very easily. They can ask the US to settle Palestinian and Israeli problem and the day this is settled, terrorism will stop. Israel is the root of this problem and Bush is busy digging and chopping "other" roots. However, they are cutting out the wrong roots.
John Henry, Singapore

Indonesia is a country that has suffered in no small part due to the actions of the West. The US supported the regime under Suharto, which killed many civilians. Abject poverty afflicts the country, compounded by the terms of IMF and World Bank loans. Again the West has had a big hand in this. If the West can kill and inflict suffering on such a scale as we have, is it any wonder that some extremists respond with the terror we saw in Bali? Don't we bear some of the responsibility for what happened?
Steve, UK

If the United States, with its CIA and FBI, couldn't prevent Sept 11, then how could Indonesia, with its powerless leader and corrupt military, be expected to thwart October 12? Are the Indonesians doing enough to combat terror? No. But the structure of politics in Indonesia leaves Megawati with no ammunition to deal with this effectively.
Rachel, Australia

This crisis is owing to those who have forced Indonesia into a political system for which it was not ready

Martin Jones, UK
In 1998, the liberal West threw Indonesia into a dilemma: as a condition of IMF loans, Indonesia had to accept multiparty democracy. Many people who have lived in Indonesia for years (such as myself) felt that it would be impossible for the country to survive as a democracy. The civil war in Malauku and the Bali bomb may be just the beginning of bloody disintegration. This crisis is partly owing to those well-intentioned folks who have forced Indonesia into a political system for which it was not ready.
Martin Jones, UK

The Indonesian government has a simple choice - crack down on the murderers who claim to be Moslem (but whose deeds show this to be a lie), or to lose, by inaction, the revenue it gets from international tourism. For once, morality and economics give the same answer!
Brian, England

I think the root cause is not Indonesia. It is the globalists/expansionists out there trying to conquer the world and impose their lifestyles, where the fundamentalists are one of the forces trying to resist it.
Wash, USA

The government has been very reluctant to crack down on Islamic fundamentalists, fearing a backlash from fanatics

GT Steel, Indonesia
I live in Indonesia and have been here for 13 years. The Indonesian government has been very reluctant to crack down on Islamic fundamentalists, fearing a backlash from a statistically small group of very noisy fanatics who do have the potential to create disturbances across the country. The reluctance to intervene is also coloured by the complexity of the Indonesian political scene. We can only hope that the outside world keeps up the pressure on the government to act.
GT Steel, Indonesia

While the world worries about human rights, the terrorists are in the midst of slaughtering humans. If the Islamic people of the world don't wish to be singled out then they need to rise up and become more active and vocal in stopping these attacks.
Bill, USA

I think it is the USA and not Indonesia that can contribute more to stopping terrorism. Muslims were never known to be terrorists until the Middle East issues were created by the West. Now to stop this terrorism, the Middle East problems should first be solved.
Abraham K, Canada

To persecute all for the actions of a few ferments the injustice that breeds terrorism

Quentin Holt, New Zealand
No matter how good your defence a determined attacker will eventually penetrate, considering they choose when and where the attack will happen. The Israeli experience clearly shows this. Suspected terrorists should be investigated and arrested if sufficient evidence of guilt is found. To persecute all for the actions of a few ferments the injustice that breeds terrorism. If the cure is too harsh, the disease will spread.
Quentin Holt, New Zealand Yes. Indonesia is a Muslim country, and must respect the feeling of its citizens - most of whom clearly oppose US aggression and war mongering. Indonesia has supported the International War Crimes tribunal, so perhaps the question should be has the US done enough to support justice.
David Brown, Helsinki, Finland

Once again Indonesia is in the spotlight for all of the wrong reasons. After September 11 America got sympathy, not criticism. Why is the opposite happening for Indonesia. The Balinese are devastated that this has happened in their country. Indonesia is doing all it can under very difficult circumstances. The country needs help and understanding, not accusatory rhetoric
G Karimian, UK

The Indonesians seem to be doing a pretty good job to combat terrorism. They've had one successful attack among many failed ones. They deserve our support and our praise. G. Kariman, UK - the US got sympathy after 9/11 because not one single terrorist involved was a US citizen, unlike the crime in Bali. Elsewhere in these postings, Canadian, Finnish, and Indian nationals use the topic "Is Indonesia doing enough to combat terror?" to bash the US. One need only to read the comments on this board to wonder why the US is going it alone more and more in the world.
Michael G., US

Anything other than a fair justice system will violate human rights in Indonesia

Simsim, Holland
Justice. Let those suspected have a fair trial. If convicted, they should get punished. Anything other than a fair justice system will violate human rights in Indonesia, like holding people without charges for one year. That would be following the bad American example.
Simsim, Holland

The Indonesian government is most certainly not doing very much in the war against terrorism. Jemaah Islamiyah operatives were being arrested as early as December last year, but Jakarta did nothing - until after the Bali bomb blast. Will the Indonesian government do anything for the foreseeable future? I hope so, but considering the corruption in the political and judicial infrastructure of the country, I am not optimistic, even after the arrest of Mr Ba'asyir.
E Tan, Singapore

They are doing more than enough. After all this is an Islamic country. What should they do? The US and its allies want to see random crackdowns and arrests, but the Indonesian government can't oblige because 90% of the population is Muslim and most people want Islamic culture to remain there.
Meeran, India

Indonesia is doing all it can. Indonesian police get far less money than British police, but within a week of the crime, they have already picked up a suspected accomplice. If this had happened in London, the police would have been too busy not offending the Islamic community to worry about little things like justice.
Richard Murray, London, UK

This Talking Point debate has now finished. Thank you for your comments.

Key stories




Links to more Talking Point stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Talking Point stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |