Is Indonesia winning its fight against Islamic extremism?

As I thread my way through crowds of worshippers at central Jakarta’s grand Istiqlal Mosque, traditionally dressed religious students grab my arms and pull me towards them.

“Take your photo with me!” shouts one. “No, first with me!” shouts another. Several small cameras appear as I am propelled to the centre of their smiling, boisterous group. All raise their thumbs in the air as the cameras start clicking.

  • Brett_McS

    Indonesia is the elephant in the room in our region: A massive population on small islands that are a stones throw from our huge, empty island continent – especially in the north west, which is closest to Indonesia, and which is almost completely empty, except for the mines (explaining why Perth is the most isolated city in the world).

    Amusing story, though: When the Berlin wall fell and the eastern European countries integrated into NATO, the Indonesians saw an opportunity to create a big naval presence quick smart and on the cheap by buying up all the former Soviet bloc warships. They went from a token navy to a massive one, and a real threat to Australia. Except for one thing: They didn’t take into account that the Soviet bloc navies are cold-water navies – no air conditioning. The warships proved completely unusable in the tropical Indonesian waters, and so to this day sit there, quietly rusting away.

  • luna

    A young Mr. Obama studied at Indonesian madradas, this may explain some of his world view.

    • Brett_McS

      Probably, because the Islam he saw was this rather mild version.