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NU, Muhammadiyah leaders to tell Bush his policies aid terror JAKARTA - Leaders of Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) and Muhammadiyah Islamic organizations, Hasyim Muzadi and Ahmad Syafii Maarif, in the meeting on Wednesday in Bali will tell U.S. President George W. Bush that U.S. policies in the Middle East, seen as favouring Israel, are one of the root causes of terror attacks in Asia. "I will tell it like it is. In Indonesia, the majority are not happy with the U.S. stance in the Middle East conflict," Hasyim Muzadi, leader of the country's largest Muslim group, the 40-million-NU, told Reuters on Tuesday.
"But I will not pretend that the president will listen to me. I mean, who am I anyway? Just a representative of some group, when even the U.N. is being ignored," he said by telephone from the East Java capital, Surabaya. Bush's four-hour visit comes at a time when anti-American sentiment in Indonesia is at its highest level in decades over the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq and Washington's support for Israel, academics say.
Bush's visit to the resort island of Bali comes just over a year after some Muslim militants blew up two nightclubs packed with foreign tourists there, killing 202 people. Syafii Maarif, head of the second-largest Muslim group in Indonesia, Muhammadiyah, speaking by telephone from Bali, said Washington's policies in the Middle East were unjust and had become a contributor to terror.
"The foreign policy of the U.S. is very pro-Israel... The sufferings of the Palestinians are growing more acute by the day and desperation or disappointment can lead to irrational actions," Maarif said. NU and Muhammadiyah run an extensive network of religious boarding schools and charitable institutions across the vast Indonesian archipelago.
Bush is scheduled to meet several moderate Muslim leaders as well as President Megawati Soekarnoputri during his stop-over in Bali, a mostly Hindu island about 1,000 km (600 miles) east of Jakarta. Jakarta has said it would use the meeting to urge Washington to fight terror within the law and by respecting human rights. "As for the terrorism issue, we will tell the U.S. that we are all in the same boat. We are here to fight terrorism because terrorism, whoever does it, is against civilisation," said Maarif, who once called Bush a "madman" for launching military operations in Iraq.



Posted in Human rights @ 21 October 2003 00:04 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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