Susilo is one of five terrorists killed in a gun battle with police on 17 September. The notorious Noordin M Top was also killed on the occasion (see “Central Java: Five dead in a raid on terrorists, perhaps Noordin M. Top,” AsiaNews, 17 September 2009).
Susilo’s family and their neighbours would like to bury him in Pracimoloyo Cemetery in Solo (Surakarta’s colloquial name), but many other residents were outraged by the suggestion.
A group calling itself the Solo Youth Alliance covered the city in banners condemning terrorism and saying no to Susilo’s burial. The group’s coordinator, Kusumo Putro, said the slogans used, like ‘Solo united against terrorists’, express how people feel.
“We are friendly people,” he explained, “and we are against terrorism. We don’t want the people of Solo to victims of terrorist propaganda”.
However, the Islamic Defenders Front (Front Pembela Islam or FPI) and the Jamaah Anshorut Tauhid, headed by the extremist Abu Bakr Baasyir, have come against the Youth Alliance.
Only the large-scale deployment of police prevented bloody clashes between the two groups.
Still tens of thousands of moderate Muslims took to the streets, shouting, “Every terrorist act is against Islam and is not part of Islamic teaching.”
Representatives of the Majelis Ulama Indonesia (the Indonesian Ulema Council or MUI) led the rally, which lasted for hours.
During the event, three figures spoke, Mudrick Sangidoe, a nationalist politician; Kiai Hajj Wahyudin, from Pesantren, a organisation that represents moderate Islamic educational boarding schools; and Kiai Hajj Ahmad Sukino, an important local Muslim leader.
All three warned against possible “manipulations” of the Islamic religion, and its use as a political tool, alluding to the idea of an Indonesian Islamic state, which is the goal of Muslim extremists and terrorists.
Residents of Kudus and Purbalingga, which is also in central Java, refused to allow the burial of Urwah and Aji, two other terrorists killed on 17 September.