JAKARTA, Indonesia -- Ever since I was a child in the 1950s we have had terrorists around us. We could not drive from the capital of Jakarta to the mountain city of Bandung after dark because there was danger from terrorists using Islamic symbols to wage their campaign for a religious state. They never caught the hearts and minds of the vast majority. Ultimately, they became history, here and gone after their 15 minutes of fame. Indonesia has certainly experienced its share of terrorism and jihadist movements since independence in 1945. In 1949, the organization Darul Islam proclaimed an "Islamic state" and staged a series of armed rebellions against the government in the 1950s and early 1960s. The militant Islamist movement then split into numerous groups, from Laskar Jihad to Jemaah Islamiyah, which executed the 2002 Bali bombings. Later on in the 1960s another kind of terrorism kept us awake, this time using communist ideology to seek a proletarian dictatorship. That failed also. The resolution was bloody and tragic: political upheaval, the iron hand of the army crushing dissent. It became unclear who the terrorists were: left-wing extremists or military hard-liners. Hundreds of thousands died in military overreaction and communist ideology was banned until the present day.
Not many Indonesians have made the trip to distant Syria -- the Indonesian government estimates around 700 have as of July 2015. In comparison, the Soufan Group estimates that for France, it's 1,700; for Russia, 2,400; and for Tunisia, 6,000. In the larger Indonesian public, reactions on social media after the attack came instantly, and comedy drowned out tragedy.
"All elements of this nation should not be provoked into doing harm," Said Aqil Siradj, the chairman of the 40-million-strong Nahdlatul Ulama, said on Thursday ...
Said called on the public "not to be influenced by any parties claiming to act on behalf of religion or jihad but that instead carry out radicalism and terrorism."
"We should also remain vigilant, unified and increase our solidarity to create a sense of safety in daily life," he added.
Muhammadiyah, Indonesia's second-biggest Islamic group, with some 30 million members, urged the public "to remain calm and put their trust in the security authorities."
"Countering terrorism should be comprehensively conducted through various approaches," said Haedar Nashir, the Muhammadiyah chairman.
Quite a different approach from the Donald Trump campaign against Islam.
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