Remembering Bali Bomb Victims

On Oct. 12 five years ago, 202 people from 22 countries, including 88 Australians, were killed in Kuta, Bali, when a group of terrorists abused Islamic teachings as a pretext to butcher others. The pain and trauma of this barbaric act continue to be felt by those who lost loved ones and the survivors of the bombing.

The Supreme Court has rejected the appeals of three of the convicted terrorists — Amrozi, Imam Samudra and Ali Gufron — and they may soon face the firing squad. But even after these three have been executed, the pain and suffering of the victims’ families will very likely remain. For some the anguish will never go away.

However, many Indonesians still find it difficult to accept that Muslims, in the name of their religion, commit terrorist attacks out of hatred for other people.

We should not forget that after the 2002 bombing, terrorists continued to strike. On Aug. 5, 2003, terrorists killed 14 people when they bombed the J.W. Marriott Hotel in Jakarta. A year later, on Sept. 9, 11 lives were lost outside the Australian Embassy in Jakarta. On Oct. 1, 2005, three suicide bombers killed 20 people in Kuta and Jimbaran, Bali.

It is clear that Islam is a peaceful and tolerant religion, as has been proven by Muslims here and around the world. There is no doubt that Islam should not be linked with acts of terror committed by those who happen to be Muslim. Terrorism has been perpetrated by people from other religions, and by many states against their own citizens.

But it is very clear, too, that something has gone wrong in our society that there are people — no matter how few in number — willing to commit such terrible crimes in the name of religion. As long as we remain in denial, we will never be able to cure this disease.

The roots of terrorism must be uncovered and addressed. There is no magic cure for this social disease. But when society reaches agreement that something is wrong, it will be easier to work together to fight terrorism.

Tomorrow, let us pray for the victims and survivors of the Bali bombing, and their loved ones. They need to know they are not alone in their grief. Let us also pray for those who have worked tirelessly to help the victims and for everyone who has helped discover the truth behind the carnage.

It is also the right time to ask ourselves: What have we contributed to preventing people who think God sent them to execute others? Preventing terrorism is not the sole responsibility of the government, but of every element in society and the international community.

For the last two years the country has been relatively peaceful thanks in large part to the work of our security forces, especially the National Police with the assistance of foreign countries.
But it is just a matter of time before the nation suffers another horror if we are unable to eradicate the roots of terrorism.

The image of Islam has been severely damaged by those who claim the religion allows them to kill the so-called enemies of Allah.
Muslims around the world need to work together to prove Islam has nothing to do with terrorism. The international community, too, must work together to combat terrorism.

Editorial: Jakarta Post