Bush's 'hate-filled people' remark riles Moslem leader
OCTOBER 16, 2003 04:32:21
Jakarta (dpa) - U.S. President George W. Bush's call on Indonesian Moslems to stop ``hate-filled people'' from determining the country's future drew immediate fire from one prominent religious leader who accused Washington of ``double standards''.
``We're demanding the U.S. explain to the world its stand,'' said Din Syamsuddin, deputy chairman of Muhammadiyah, Indonesia's second largest Moslem organization.
Syamsudin's remark was in response to Bush's statement calling on Indonesia to tell the world most of the country's Moslems are moderate, and to stop small groups of ``hate-filled people'' from dictating how the country should be run.
In an interview published on Thursday by Kompas newspaper, Indonesia's most respected daily, Bush said he will discuss ways to combat terrorism with President Megawati Sukarnoputri and other Asian leaders during his tour to Asia and Australia next week.
``I think it's very important for Indonesia to firstly announce to the world that the majority of Moslems in Indonesia are moderate, respecting democracy and peace,'' Bush said in an interview.
``In line with that, it's very important not let a splinter of murderers determine Indonesia's (future) ... We don't want that Indonesia to be determined by a small group of hate-filled people,'' Bush added, in an apparent reference to Moslem militants in the country.
Syamsuddin, who is also secretary general of the mainstream Indonesian Ulamas Council, accused the U.S. of following a ``double-standard'' policy, in particularly in connection with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq.
He also accused Bush of imposing unfair policy to combat international terrorism.
``In handling terrorism, the United States follows ... double standard policy,'' state-run Antara news agency quoted Syamsuddin as saying.
He urged Bush to stop terrorizing the world, in particular his ``state terrorism'' policy because it has destroyed world order.
Syamsuddin urged President Megawati, as the leader of Indonesian which boasts the world's largest Moslem population, ``should be brave in expressing her peoples' aspiration and demanding the U.S. president to stop his unjust and unfair policy in combatting terrorism''.
Besides Megawati, during a scheduled four-hour stop over on the Indonesian resort island of Bali on October 22, Bush also plans to hold talks with leaders of Indonesia's moderate Moslem organizations.
Bush, in his interview with Kompas, said he wanted to address anti-American sentiment in Southeast Asia during his visit, ``to make sure that people who are suspicious of our country finally understand our motivation is pure''.