The war against terrorism in the world's most populous Muslim nation cannot be won unless religious leaders take up the fight against extremist interpretations of the faith, Indonesia's vice president said Tuesday. The remarks by Yusuf Kalla underline the increased emphasis the government is placing on combatting hardline ideologies since suicide bombings last month on the resort island of Bali killed 20.
"There are two kinds of war against terrorists, the physical one carried out by the police ... and the most important one, that is the war against the ideology," he said. "What is happening is that today we arrest 10 people, but the ideology continues and the extremists can recruit 50 more people."
Video recordings made by the three young attackers on Bali in which they say the blasts were part of a holy war against the West have shocked many in this mostly moderate nation. The footage, and that of a masked militant threatening more attacks, has been shown repeatedly on TV.
"We are happy that Islamic clerics have declared war on the ideology," he said, referring to more vocal criticism by religious leaders of terrorism since the video recordings were made public. Previously, many clerics and politicians declined to explicitly criticize or even publicly address Islamic terrorism for fear of being seen as subservient to the United States, which is deeply unpopular here because of the war in Iraq.
Last month's attacks were the fourth in Indonesia in three years, including the 2002 Bali nightclub bombings, which killed 202 people, most of them foreign tourists. The strikes have been blamed on militants from the regional Jemaah Islamiyah terror group, reports the AP. I.L.