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Indonesia: Anger is on the rise among Muslims

Anti-American sentiment raged in Indonesia in the fall of 2001, after the United States began bombing Afghanistan in the first stage of the war on global terrorism. Now the heat is rising again as Washington prepares for a possible war against Iraq, and resolute disapproval of U.S. policy is unanimous in the Islamic zone of Southeast Asia. Protests have been peaceful so far, but analysts worry that religious identification with Iraqi Muslims could turn criticism into animosity. Should local Muslim tempers boil over, America risks losing the confidence of strategic counterterrorism allies in a heavily Muslim region that has gained urgent importance since October, when a terrorist group allegedly linked to the Al-Qaida network bombed two nightclubs in Bali, killing nearly 200 Western tourists. “People here think the U.S. should seek a peaceful solution to the problem instead of using military force,” said Amir Husein, a 52-year-old crab wholesaler at the Luar Batang fish market in north Jakarta’s crumbling old colonial district. Full Story

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