Jakarta Globe & Antara
The death of Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden could temporarily dampen but not put an end to radicalism and terrorism activities, including in Indonesia, experts said on Monday.
Osama was killed on Sunday in a firefight with U.S. forces in Pakistan and his body was recovered, US President Barack Obama announced.
The head of Indonesia’s National Counter-Terrorism Agency (BNPT), Ansyaad Mbai, said there were two possible reactions from terror groups — they could reduce their activities or retaliate.
“In the long term it will have positive effect,” he said. “We hope radicalism will lessen because the main figure was killed.”
The chairman of the Nahdlatul Ulama National Board (PBNU), Said Aqil Siroj, was less optimistic.
“Don’t be too happy for Osama’s death because it will not automatically eliminate radicalism from the face of the earth,” Said Aqil said, adding that the US military only killed bin Laden and not radicalism.
He pointed out that the death of Southeast Asia’s top terrorists Dr Azahari and Noordin M Top did not stop terrorism in Indonesia.
“We have to remain alert because radicalism has existed for a long time and it will always remain. The problem is how fast radicalism grows. It depends on how we counter it,” he said.
“Consistency and commitment to rejecting radicalism must not fade. We must not say that we’re tired of rejecting radical teachings,” Said Aqil said.
“The public must be reminded that Indonesia, with its Eastern culture, is a friendly and civilized nation, far from radicalism.”
Security expert Noor Huda Ismail said the most possible successor to Osama’s leadership is his deputy, Ayman al Zawarihi.