Indonesian terror attacks highlight an often forgotten truth
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Indonesian terror attacks highlight an often forgotten truth

The recent spate of horrific terrorist attacks in Indonesia highlights a number of unfortunate, and often overlooked, truths about this global epidemic of violent slaughter.

The first is that by far the greatest number of terror attacks carried out by so-called Islamic extremists occur in Muslim countries.

A second is the attackers, who appropriate the name of a worthy and long-established faith that espouses tolerance, justice and civil harmony, have about as much to do with Islam as the Klu Klux Klan has to do with Methodism, the Roman Catholic Church or Anglicanism.

A third is that the intent of such attacks is to actively destabilise secular Muslim states such as Indonesia, Iraq and Egypt where the civil authority takes precedence over religious institutions and in which a wide range of races, cultures and religious groups have historically live together in harmony.

Terrorist organisations such as Islamic State, al-Quaeda, the Taliban, and this latest group - the so called Jemaah Anshorut Daulah or JAD, want to spread fear, chaos, civil unrest and uncertainty in order to weaken political, social and civil power structures and draw new recruits to their evil cause.

Moderate Muslims are, if anything, even more threatening to them than Christians, Jews or agnostic westerners could ever hope to be.

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They are the people who, by their daily example, demonstrate the virtue of a faith that is rooted in morality, places a premium on human life and exhorts its followers to be the best friends, neighbours and citizens they can possibly be.

And, perhaps most importantly, the latest attacks have highlighted the dangers facing many countries, including our own, as a result of the return or attempted return home of foreign ISIS fighters from the conflict in Syria and other parts of the Middle-East.

It is tragic that one of the reasons the Surabya attacks, which targeted Christian churches during Sunday services and a police station, have been reported much more widely than previous terror incidents in Muslim countries is because of the involvment of young children.

In one of the attacks, which claimed 17 lives, the youngest suicide bomber was just nine years old. Her suicide vest had reportedly been detonated by her own mother. The woman then blew herself up.

This degree of barbarous and inhumane fanaticism is almost unprecedented.

There is no religion on earth that would condone such an action. The mindset of those who believe that murdering their own children in order to take other innocent lives can be justified absolutely beggars belief.

While many Australians first became aware of terrorism in Indonesia as a result of the Bali bombing on October 12, 2002, its roots stretch back much further than that.

Previous terrorist incidents include an assassination attempt on President Sukarno in 1962, a bomb attack on the Nurul Iman Mosque in Padang in 1976, the hijacking of Garuda Indonesia Flight 206 in March 1981 and a string of co-ordinated church bombings organised by Jemaah Islamiyah and Al Quaeda on Christmas Eve, 2000.

Australia has a strong track record of working with the Indonesian authorities on counter terrorism. Given the potential for some of the more than 500 Indonesian ISIS fighters who were deported from Syria to make their way to our shores, it is essential these relationships be strenghtened and maintained.

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