Monday, October 10, 2005

Indonesia Refuses to Ban Terrorist Group

Indonesia’s deputy president Yusuf Kalla, known as a very staunch Muslim and a bit of a xenophobe, stated that Indonesia cannot ban Jemaah Islamiah (JI) for the reason the government hasn’t even recognize the Islamic organisation. His argument follows that one cannot ban something that one doesn’t recognize.

We need to recognise that Yusuf Kalla is an activist Muslim, with links to the South Sulawesi Muslim groups, which had been reknown for its vigorous and fairly aggressive Islamic movements. He has also been associated with radical political parties such as the Crescent Star Party and the Justice Welfare Party. Therefore it shouldn't be surprising that he could be sympathetic to JI.

Australia and most of the western world know that JI funds, trains, operates and harbours Islamist terrorists. Australia has been pressing Indonesia to ban the organization, especially more so after two terrorist attacks at Bali, which were conducted by JI.

Yusuf Kalla is being disingenuous and thus uncooperative by his argumentative explanation. Whether Indonesia recognizes JI or not is totally irrelevant because the Indonesian government can still ban it, inasmuch as it had banned communism which it didn't recognise as well.

Once JI is officially banned, the authority’s control of JI’s activities would be better facilitated through prohibition on financial donations or subscriptions, recruitment, movements, publicity and official existence. Right now, JI is a highly respected Islamic organisation that operates with impunity within Indonesia.

The reality is Yusuf Kalla and most Indonesian leaders dare not or more probably don’t want to ban JI.

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