Jason Burke, The Observer, October 2:

“It is tempting to see the bombs in Bali yesterday as part of the wave of attacks launched by the supposedly still omnipresent al-Qaeda. But Islamic militancy in Indonesia, and in the Far East generally, is not new. It certainly far pre-dates Osama bin Laden

“As local people, the bombers were denied entry to the clubs, which they apparently resented. The clubs and the tourists were seen as alien intruders – ‘dirty people’, one bomber said, and brazen about their ‘adulterous practices’. In the bombers’ minds the attacks were a blow against moral pollution and a step to creating a Dar ul Islam.

“The latest attacks will be born of the same feelings, probably fused with anti-Western, anti-Semitic nihilism. They show again that killing militants or jailing them can only be a short-term solution. They also demonstrate the fundamental moderation of most of the 270 million Indonesians, who have little sympathy for the killers in their midst.”

The bombing is an outrage and the ring-leaders should be brought to justice. However, Murdoch’s Australian believes that such attacks “make the case for the anti-terror laws agreed to by the premiers and Prime Minister John Howard last week.”

Such legislation would have made little difference to killers who are determined to cause chaos. Existing laws give authorities more than enough power to watch or interrogate suspects. Don’t let fear-mongers tell you otherwise.

Text and images ©2024 Antony Loewenstein. All rights reserved.

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