08/30/2005, 00.00
INDONESIA
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High risk of terrorist attacks in Indonesia, says President Susilo

"Terrorist cells are still active", the President warns. He puts country's security forces on high alert and gives notice to Islamic extremists.

Jakarta (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono told the nation that over the next two months the country is at risk of terrorist attacks.

"We know the terrorists cells are still active, [that] they are still hiding, recruiting, networking, trying to find new funding and even planning ...   another strike," the President said.

He warned of possible attacks in September or October, calling them "special months for terrorism".

"There will a rise in terrorist activities," he said. ""Last night, I instructed the security minister, the head of the intelligence agency and the police chief to conduct more active operations into the detection and prevention [of the] act of terrorism that may happen this year . . . in the months of September and October."
Mr Susilo called the Jemaah Islamiah network a threat to the nation. The group is said to be linked to al-Qaida and operating as its South-East Asia branch. It has been blamed for the 2002 Bali bombings and the September 2004 blast at the Australian Embassy which killed 202 and 10 people respectively.

President Susilo warned against extremist views and gave notice to radical Islamic groups that Indonesia—the most populous Muslim country in the world—"will continue to be moderate, tolerant and democratic".

"We will strengthen the hands of the religious moderates," he added.

In the last few months, several episodes suggest that the radical views criticised by the President are spreading.

In late July, Indonesia's top Islamic council issued a religious edict forbidding pluralism, any liberal interpretation of Islam and mixed marriages. But the legally non-binding fatwa by the Indonesian Ulama Council was harshly criticised by many moderate clerics.

At the same time, Muslim hardliners in parts of the country have recently forced the closure of several churches without causing any police intervention to stop them.

The country is currently going through a serious economic crisis. Rising fuel prices and the decline of the Indonesian rupiah (in August alone it lost 10 per cent of its value against the US dollar) have forced the Central Bank to raise interest rates from 8.75 per cent to 9.5 per cent.

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