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Religious leaders praise police for combating terrorism


August 11 2009

Buddhist, Catholic, Hindu and Muslim leaders in Indonesia have applauded efforts by the national police and its special counterterrorism squad in combating terrorism in the country.


Amidhan, head of the Indonesian Ulema Council -- UCAN photo

Their praise comes in the wake of the elite Detachment 88 unit exchanging fire with terror suspects at a house in Beji village, in Central Java´s Temanggung district, on Aug. 7.

Noordin Mohammad Top, Southeast Asia´s most wanted terror suspect from Malaysia, was allegedly found dead inside the house after an intense 18-hour shootout. Noordin was reportedly behind the twin suicide blasts at the Ritz Carlton and J.W. Marriott hotels in Jakarta on July 17.

"If the man shot dead in the village is really the man whom we are looking for ... Alhamdulillah (praise to God)," Masdar Farid Masudi, chairperson of Nahdlatul Ulama, the largest Muslim organization in Indonesia, told UCA News.

While thanking the national police for their work, Masudi also pointed to factors giving rise to terrorism -- extreme and intolerant interpretations of religious teachings, poverty and backwardness, and injustice.

Similarly, Amidhan, who heads the Islamic Ulema (scholars) Council, commented, "I do appreciate the efforts taken by the national police, especially Detachment 88, in catching terror suspects."


Masdar Farid Masudi, chairperson of Nahdlatul
Ulama -- UCAN photo

He however suggested that all people in the country should "be aware and increase security levels in their own areas in order to prevent terror suspects from entering their localities."

Father Yohanes Rasul Edy Purwanto, executive secretary of the bishops´ Commission for Laity, also commended the anti-terrorism efforts.

Noting that some people have raised doubts as to whether the man shot dead was in fact Noordin, the priest said that nevertheless, "the most important thing is that the national police have carried out their tasks professionally."

Philip Wijaya, secretary general of the Trusteeship of Indonesian Buddhists (Walubi) also praised the police, but said: "They need to work harder because terrorists still exist in this country. They threaten our nation and harm our country´s image in the eyes of the world."

He expressed hope that religious leaders would be able to offer their people adequate religious education and foster tolerance in society.

Nyoman Udayana Sanggih from the Association of Indonesian Hindu Dharma (PHDI) said he salutes the national police for their efforts.


Noordin Mohammad Top

"The Jakarta Post" English daily reported on Aug. 10 that the national police have taken blood samples from Noordin´s children in Malaysia for DNA testing to establish if he was indeed the man shot dead.

According to National Police Chief General Bambang Hendarso Danuri, police need at least a week before they can release the results to the public.

The daily also reported that police killed two members belonging to the Al Qaeda-linked Southeast Asian terror network Jemaah Islamiyah -- Air Setiawan and Eko Joko Sarjono -- during a raid in Jati Asih in West Java on Aug. 8.

According to police, both planned to blow themselves up at the residence of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in Cikeas, south of Jakarta. Police found half a ton of explosives at their residence.