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Editorial: Zero Tolerance for Indonesian Terrorists and Bigots
October 04, 2010
Turning up the heat against Islamic militants, the police raided a Sumatra hideout over the weekend, where they shot six suspects dead and arrested four others. The gunbattle, on the heels of a raid on another terrorist hideout last month, sent a strong signal to terrorists and extremists.
Indonesia is no longer a safe haven for them and they will be hunted down and dealt with in accordance with the law. Kudos to the police for continuing this fight and ensuring that militants and terrorists can no longer operate freely within our borders. The suspects are believed to be linked to a group accused of killing a police officer during a heist in Medan last August, which was meant to raise funds for terrorist attacks.
Also, the suspects were allegedly involved in an attack on a police station near Medan, where three police officers were killed. Indonesia has suffered a number of devastating terrorist attacks in recent years, claiming innocent lives and hampering economic stability.
Terrorists are waging a war in the name of Islam, but it is clear to Muslims that they have disparaged and insulted the religion through their actions.
These threats must be wiped out, but it will take time. We cannot rest. Security forces must remain alert at all times. While the police continue the fight against extremists, there are still worrying signs that they are not giving ample attention to protecting minority groups in the country.
Last Friday’s attack on members of the Ahmadiyah sect must be condemned and the perpetrators must be brought to justice. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has appealed for calm and instructed the police to arrest those responsible for the attack, which involved burning and looting the homes of Ahmadiyah members.
Apparently, the attack was triggered by rumors that some members of the sect had stabbed villagers in the area.
Around 600,000 members of Ahmadiyah throughout the country have faced constant harassment and discrimination for years. Some have been denied access to state jobs while their children are often taunted at school. Similar burnings and attacks on Ahmadiyah mosques and homes have occurred in several places like West Nusa Tenggara, where homes belonging to members of the sect were burned, leaving hundreds homeless.
The last attack occurred in Bogor, West Java, on the same day that the president warned the public against spreading hate and violence. Assailants torched an Ahmadiyah mosque, two houses and seven vehicles, as well as vandalized several other buildings. Freedom of worship is guaranteed by the Constitution. Burning and looting are crimes.
The police cannot turn a blind eye to discrimination if we, as a nation and society, want to call ourselves truly democratic. The test of our social character is our willingness and ability to provide security and protection to minority groups.