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Washington: Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono acknowledged that Isla

mic radicalism may be on the rise in his country but said he was not worried it
would spiral out of control.
Speaking to US public television, Yudhoyono said that the world’s most populous Mu
slim-majority nation offered proof that Islam was compatible with democracy and
that radical groups had small membership.
“I can see to a certain degree there is an escalation of radicalism in many countr
ies. Probably we could see also that kind of thing that happens in Indonesia,” Yud
hoyono told ‘The Charlie Rose Show’ in an interview broadcast late Monday.
“But I believe that we could manage, we could control the activities of radical gr
oups here in Indonesia by empowering religious leaders, by ensuring through educ
ation and other means that force of moderation is still in place,” he said.
“So it could be yes, but I’m not really worried about the so-called rise of radicali
sm,” he said when asked if radical Islam was rising in Indonesia.
Indonesia’s transition to democracy has won wide praise around the world, but righ
ts groups say that violence against minorities has been escalating during Yudhoy
ono’s tenure.
Islamic fanatics in February brutally murdered three members of the Ahmadiyah mo
vement, in one of the grisliest attacks on the minority Muslim sect whose freedo
ms were curtailed under a 2008 degree.
Around 2,000 people held a mass prayer in a show of solidarity with the 12 accus
ed as they went on trial on Tuesday.
Yudhoyono said he was walking a fine line as he wanted to assure Indonesians tha
t action against terrorism was not targeting Islam.
“I am really more than willing to speak loudly,” he said. “We actually conduct anti-te
rrorism campaigns very seriously in Indonesia, by all means.”
“But, of course, I have to maintain the climate of brotherhood here in Indonesia,
because the majority of the population are Muslim, so I try to maintain their fe
elings, because sometimes the policy of the government is initially misinterpret
ed,” he said.
Bureau Report