Hardline Islamists 2 Dec assembled at National Monument (Monas) in Jakarta to observe one-year anniversary of Aksi Bela Islam 212, or Action to Defend Islam, which called for formal charges against then-Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama for “blasphemous” comments. Jakarta’s new governor, Anies Baswedan, came under fire for attending rally day after he misled media over giving his approval for event. Indonesia’s largest Muslim organisation, Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) 4 Dec warned that politicians who use Islam to win votes inevitably end up discriminating against minorities and provoking intolerance that can lead to religious conflict. President Widodo strongly denounced U.S. President Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as capital of Israel, which prompted protests outside U.S. embassy. Indonesian security forces 9-11 Dec arrested nineteen people allegedly linked with Islamic State (ISIS) in East Java, Pekanbaru, and South Sumatra province.
A dispute over a flag in Aceh is testing the limits of autonomy, irritating Indonesia’s central government, heightening ethnic tensions, reviving a campaign for the division of the province and raising fears of violence as the 2014 national elections approach.
Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono needs to act more firmly against institutions and officials that defy national court rulings or his inaction risks prolonging local conflicts.
The only measure likely to halt violence in Indonesia’s Papua province in the short term is a major overhaul of security policy.
Almost ten years after the 2002 Bali bombing, Indonesian extremists are weak and divided but still finding partners for new operations.
Election monitors should begin deployment to Aceh long before the 9 April election to deter intimidation.
Despite years of investment in community policing, the Indonesian police remain deeply distrusted by the people they are supposed to serve.
Lecture by Sidney Jones at International Policy Studies program of Stanford University, 5 December 2012.
Originally published in The Interpreter
Originally published in The Jakarta Globe
Originally published in Myanmar Times