What do Americans think of Indonesians?

politics : Indonesia: Hunt for Americans

Four bombs, two dead, 15 injured: In Ambon, on the Moluccas, two men died on Friday and Monday; People were injured in Jakarta on Sunday when two explosive devices exploded in the parking garage of a shopping mall. Around 500 kilometers east of the capital, hundreds of Islamic extremists stormed hotels in Solo at the same time. They were looking for Americans. When they couldn't find any, the men put posters on the walls: "As soon as Afghanistan is attacked, the Americans and their allies must get out of Solo."

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Chronology: The series of attacks against the USA The bomb attacks were not directed against US citizens. In the Moluccas, Christians and Muslims have been killing each other for two years - the great exception in a country where different religions otherwise live together peacefully. But even in Indonesia, the largest Muslim nation in the world with 200 million Muslims, radical Islamic groups have spoken out with anti-American slogans and threats after the terrorist attacks in the USA. "If America shoots a cartridge against Afghanistan, we will wipe out all US facilities here," said Muhammad Kalono, head of Laskar Jundullah, one of perhaps ten groups whose members are Islamic extremists. Nobody knows how many supporters they have. In the past few days, however, a large number of T-shirts with the image of Osama bin Laden have been sold in Jakarta.

The American Embassy in Jakarta announced that "the government has received information that extreme elements may be planning to target US interests in Indonesia." According to the warning, this could also affect American tourists. The embassy has been guarded by snipers from the Indonesian police since the weekend.

There may also be a connection between the recent bombs and the events in the United States. Ex-President Wahid, an Islamic clergyman, had taken action against the powerful in the country: against the military and corrupt business people. The politics of the successor Megawati could not please others, namely Islamic extremists. Megawati leads a secular party and has promised the US support in the fight against terrorism. On Monday the President met UN Secretary General Annan. She announced that she would sign anti-terrorism conventions that Indonesia has not yet ratified.

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