The nation of Pakistan is going through a massive convulsion following the death of Benazir Bhutto, but several hundred miles away in the most populous Muslim nations of the world, there is no terrorism and no violence raging through its streets. According to Indonesian Inspector General Sisno Adwindo, “there was no bombing incident related to terrorism in 2007, but we have to remain alert for such a threat next year.” What accounts for the absence of religious fanaticism in one Muslim country while the other is wracked by non-stop fighting and killing? At the heart of this matter is the emphasis among Indonesian leaders for a preventive approach, ward off terrorism before it can begin. The Indonesian government works closely with religious leaders in an effort to achieve what Sisno terms, “a united perspective on terrorism.” America has emphasized to Pakistan that only military action will deal with terrorism, and, in so doing, unleashed the forces of war and violence.
Imagine, for a moment, if American aid to Pakistan had focused on economic rather than military development. Imagine if the US worked closely with Pakistan leaders to develop a vibrant economy. Imagine if the US finally demanded that Saudi Arabia cease funding Islamic schools which teach violence and hatred toward the West. Imagine, for a moment, if the US had not created the violence that is now Iraq, but had worked with moderate Muslim leaders of the world to create conditions for peaceful social and economic development. Indonesia is on the right path, avoid war and conflict and work with religious leaders to educate people in the virtues of peace. By the way, this Christmas there were 15,000 Indonesian police guarding Christian churches and they were assisted by thousands of Muslims who voluntarily came out to ensure peace and tranquility for their Christian neighbors.