Since 2002, there has been no year passed without bombings in Indonesia. Being the world’s largest Muslim populated country does not offer any guarantee against Muslim terrorism, as three bombs exploded in Bali on October 1. The second time within the last three years, the blasts claimed 22 lives and injured 102 others.
While the 2002 bombings killed 202 people, the latter may cause bigger devastation. Not only would it put a real dampener on the still-hurting tourism industry which may lead to the financial downturn; but it would also carry another aftereffect which is no less disturbing: vengeance.
With the devastation they had caused, the terrorists more than deserve the vengeance. The only problem is that nobody knows for sure who they really are, except the talk is that they are Jemaah Islamiyah (JI)—a Southeast Asian terrorist group links to Al Qaeda. Terrorism is an unknown entity, which raises fear that “the absence of a clearly defined enemy will tempt the Balinese to take their anger out on the community that has many times been mistakenly associated with the terrorist organization”. Thus the conflict may lead to interreligious conflict between Muslims and Hindus in the country—one thing that never happened in the past.
In the brutalized area one kilometer to the south, a weeping community leader put that sadness into words of disbelief. “Why do they keep attacking us, singling us out. Have we wronged them in the past?” he asked.
The following morning, a Denpasar housewife woke up with the pain of anger burning in her heart. “They attacked us because we are Hindus. It’s about time we avenged this cruelty,” she said, gritting her teeth.
The truth is that no matter in what shape they keep their disguise, there is no justification in terrorism, whether it’s viewed from cultural or religious reasons. By claiming to be Muslims, they raise the suspicion that they only wish to scapegoat Muslims.
Hopefully the attack won’t turn into a bigger disaster after world leaders condemned the attack and pledged to support Indonesia in its fight against terrorism. “The United States condemns the terrorist bombings today in Bali that claimed innocent lives and injured many more. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims, and we wish a speedy recovery to those injured,” as the U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said in a statement.