Mon, 29 Sep 2003

Controversy on Islamic zealots

Amid the uproar arising from various elements in society over the arrests of Islamic activists suspected by the police of being involved in and planning bombings in several places, I would like to contribute my view concerning this issue.

I share the opinion that terrorism should be handled according to the law, so as not to create new terror in society. Those upholding high democratic values will agree to that. The problem is now many people become very irrational in responding to such arrests, even more so when targets of the raids are ex-members of jihad troops in various places once torn by strife like Poso, Ambon and even Afghanistan. Since the figures seized are religious activists, various interpretations follow.

The "conspiracy theory" thus prevails such as the arrests being ordered by the U.S. and Australia, the suppression of religious propagation, and the spread of Islamophobia as practiced by the New Order. If the theory continues to be developed, it is more negative than positive. The questions arise whether our nation is so mediocre that it bows so willingly to foreign pressure, whether Islamic propagation becomes so restricted with the capture of mosque activists, and whether Islamophopia is truly revived.

I am sure that as the nation is facing difficulties today, the dramatic conditions created by such an attitude will even reduce our awareness of the substance of action against inhuman acts of terrorism. Who would ever expect that such people as Amrozi, Imam Samudra and Hambali (all relatively simple Javanese villagers) were going to perpetrate the bombings in Bali?

The important thing now is to watch how the intelligence agency and the police force are performing their duties, in order to ascertain whether or not the "conspiracy theory" really applies.