How should Muslim countries deal with Islamic extremism?

DVDs on sale at a Jakarta bookstore

DVDs on sale at a Jakarta bookstore

How to tackle Islamic extremism – a topic that many of you have debated here before. But this week Newshour is taking a close-up look at how two Muslim countries, Pakistan and Indonesia, are approaching the problem.

In 2002 in Indonesia more than 200 people were killed in the Bali bombings and the Jemaah Islamiyah network was seen as a major threat in the region.

Seven years later and the threat of extremist violence in Indonesia seems to have waned.

Pakistan however is struggling to cope with the extremist threat and has faced a recent upsurge in violent attacks and the Talebanisation of areas adjacent to Afghanistan.

Has Indonesia found methods of dealing with extremism that Pakistan could learn from?

Newshour will be live from Paksitan and Indonesia this Wednesday.

14 Responses to “How should Muslim countries deal with Islamic extremism?”

  1. 1 Suresh in New Jersey
    May 18, 2009 at 20:48

    Pakistan and Indonesia do NOT have the same malady.

    The origins of Islamism and the rise of militias in Pakistan is state-sponsored and bankrolled by their secret service, the ISI. These terrorists were cultivated over several decades with tacit American knowledge/cooperation with the explicit aim to destabilize India.

    Pakistan’s Islamic militias were whipped into a frenzy by the Pakistani military establishment to target the “idol worshipping” Hindus of India and to use them as irregular fighters in guerilla warfare with India, especially in the Kashmir region. That these terrorists should now turn on their masters is kind of just desserts for the Pakistani establishment. The very fact that despite all of this brouhaha in the media, the perpetrators of the Mumbai massacre on 26/11 are still at large and that too in a public manner in downtown Lahore and Karachi. The regime there never was committed to giving up what they consider a “strategic” advantage over India. Which is why this will fester and become worse.

    Indonesian militants are isolationists influenced by the Wahabi/Salafi brand of Islam which was never native to that region. Which is why they couldn’t drop deep roots. Also, the local government there has been sincere in wanting to eradicate them. The Indonesian people are also, by and large, do not offer a willing substrate to this brand of Islam. Their success is the success of the moderates, the progressive muslims.

    Let’s not compare the two, simply because the situations are vastly different.

  2. 2 jHenosch Farissen
    May 18, 2009 at 22:34

    Islamic countries and moreover moslims in general should discuss their own religion seriously in public, like jews, christians and other tolterant believers do.

    Not addressing the recurrent violent component of islam because it is so sensitive, is the beginning of dictatorship, or kaliphate.

    By refusing Mr. Wilders, a Dutch parliamentarian, Britten already has become highly susceptable to this violent ummah.

  3. 3 Matthew Houston
    May 18, 2009 at 23:34

    It’s an interesting photograph to be certain. One that caught my eye was the title Holy Sniper. It begs the question, “Is there any non-extreme sniper?”
    Why stop at Islamic Extremism? Why not deal with extremism as extremism?

  4. 4 Brian from Calif.
    May 19, 2009 at 02:44

    @Suresh Thank you for the distinctions.
    I assume the U.S. “knowledge/cooperation ” was cold war blow back. Why would the U.S. want to destabilize India???

  5. May 19, 2009 at 11:21

    What Muslim countries should do is ; take care of their own problems,if indeed they have any,and take no advise from external sources

    • 6 Vly Skwalker
      May 20, 2009 at 14:31

      Moslem’s cultures need to balance male and female roles, land ownership, schooling in integrated classes, etc. For presently, in even the poorest Moslem’s households the males are spoiled by their families compared to their female siblings. So, every male is a spoiled brat. One needs only to look at President Buch and his Fascist cronies to realise just how this being spoiled affected them! A spoiled brat views compromise as weakness. Brats throw tantrums: murder, etc. Compromise and diplomacy cannot be part of the mentality of spoiled brats_ so Democracy can never be realised in Moslem cultures until the roles of sexes are normalised/ balanced.
      LOOK at Turkey! This culture in 1923 balanced the roles of the sexes and now they are more Democratic than America!

      • May 23, 2009 at 19:23

        The Middle Eastern culture has a strong religious and social structure, in the male/female rights, behavior, and treatment. It is as old as society/culture itself. It’s history is rich and valuable in the world today. Ultimately it is up to the cultures there to make social changes and laws. There should be change, there is no doubt. As their culture functions today it is clearly unjust to women, if they are mistreated, degraded as citizens, and imprisoned by male dominance. The future will be freer for all persons in ways not yet seen.

        The road or path to that freedom is fraught with pain, courage, death, and chaos. Change brings chaos without a doubt. If anything, idea or material, is to be changed it must be taken apart first. There is a time of uncertainty and confusion, then comes newness, a difference thought process, a tolerance, new possibilities. To simply say that the roles of the sexes must be balanced is to make a huge jump, a jump that is fatal.

        First there must be a bridge and a plan. The way to great positive changes in humanity come a step at a time. Sometimes a painful, hesitant step. The basic principles at the soul of Humanity and It’s progress are, hope and love, a love of our enemy, open-mindedness, allowing, listening, and hearing. Each person on this beautiful planet wants the same things, safety, shelter, food, and to be cared about by others. There is a life-time of work to be done, hopefully civilization, pure reasoning, and wanting the best for others, will bring all of us to a world of peace and purpose. Thank you for giving me an opportunity to express myself.

  6. 8 Suresh in New Jersey
    May 19, 2009 at 12:45

    Recently declassified papers show how the Nixon administration and subsequent ones have had a marked dislike of India. The traditional view in the Pentagon has always been that India was a state in the Soviet/socialist mould and ought to be treated in the same manner.

    Until the Bush administration came along, the Atlanticist point of view had dominated US policy in the Indian subcontinent. The nuclear deal and the goodwill cultivated by Bush was solely responsible for breaking the ice with India.

  7. 9 Crispo
    May 19, 2009 at 13:44

    I have stated countless times that the Islamic religion doesn’t provide a clear stance on the issue of extremism. The most radical part of Islam; jihad, makes it hard to achieve any long lasting peace without the presence of a dictator in such states.
    So, what should they do? To begin with, I agree with surresh that pakistani can’t be compared with Indonesia. The background to the problems in the two states is different much like the sentiments expressed.
    I propose a positive Islamic teaching if a solution is to be got at all. As for Indonesia, military action proved effective and a devastating blow they have rendered the Tamil Tigers. We may argue that in the long run, Islam has succeeded in creating more problems for itself beyond the cardinal aim of delivering spiritual food to its followers. This is because, they do not discuss the religious aspect in public, advocate for anarchist tactics which are more of violence and provide an excuse to terrorists.

  8. 10 Jennifer
    May 19, 2009 at 16:24

    I am very interested in this topic!

    I think the answer to dealing with Islamic extremism is as simple as looking at the religion of islam itself. Do that, and I believe that you will see the problem in that the root of Islam is far from “peace” towards others who have different beliefs.

  9. 11 Vly Skwalker
    May 20, 2009 at 14:36

    Exactly! Spoiled Brats do not compromise, Spoiled Brats do not tolerate. Spoiled Brats do not Accept, as good Buddhists or Christians! Acceptance and tolerance is a sign of weakness! The Moslem cultures will remain intolerant and abussive (throwing tantrums) until they balance the roles of the sexes!

  10. 12 Concerned
    May 20, 2009 at 14:51

    The rapid downward spiral in Rwandan society in the early 90s provides a blueprint for the role of inflamatory media in the midst of an uneducated, young and poor population. The line between calling someone different from you, to calling them cockroaches and hacking them to pieces is labile and easily crossed when mob mentality takes over. Madrassas must be controlled and turned into foci of education, not militancy.

  11. 13 Fajar (Dawn)
    May 20, 2009 at 22:57

    Countries should throw out the radicals if they become a problem. Extremists can too easily become terrorists – in Islam, Christianity, or many other religions.
    I lived in Indonesia for a few years & found most Muslims quite agreeable. Most are “Friday Muslims” just like most Christians in the States are just “Sunday Christians.” There are probably just as many devout Muslims as devout Christians – and just as many extreme Muslims as extreme Christians.

  12. 14 Shahid Akhtar
    June 9, 2009 at 14:11




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