chapter  6
Terrorism and the Political Landscape in Indonesia: The Fragile Post-Bali Consensus
Pages 24

A year after the Bali blast (October 12, 2002) killed 202 people, Indonesia's president, Megawati Sukamoputri, declined to attend the anniversary commemorations. Megawati claimed that she had a conflicting state engagement

. (a visit to Algeria), and that a memorial-an extension of mourning-was not consistent with the island's Hindu values (despite Bali's gubernatorial authorities involvement in commemorations). Indonesia's Coordinating Minister of Security, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, attended in place of his chief executive. While Indonesia has produced real results against Jemaah Islamiya (JI) in the wake of the Bali blast, with nearly one hundred jihadis imprisoned, the fact that Megawati could miss a memorial for the largest single terrorist incident on Indonesian soil-apparently with little or no domestic controversy-indicates that fighting "international terrorism" may not be regarded as Indonesia's top challenge by both the political elite and the masses. Although it ignored the problem prior to the Bali blast, the Indonesian government has freely acknowledged the terrorist threat since. But while a consensus has emerged among mainstream Muslim leaders about the need to check violent radical ideologies, a large section of the Indonesian public remains skeptical about the threat posed by Jemaah Islamiya-or indeed, whether such an organization even exists. The Indonesian population, as this

chapter will argue, is not a prime recruiting ground for radical Islamist ideologies. Only moderate Islamist parties currently have achieved any political representation, and even they are far too weak to implement their agenda. The vast majority of Indonesia's population has been schooled to view political Islam as a direct contradiction to the Republic of Indonesia's survival as a multiethnic and multireligious state. However, Indonesia's "enabling environment" for Jemaah Islamiya has been a widespread public disbelief about the threat posed. Many still view the whole war against terrorism as a plan to weaken Islam.