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How Indonesia keeps Islamic extremists at bay

Indonesia's version of counterterrorism could be a helpful example to follow in the campaign against extremism.

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Barack Obama’s return to Indonesia, the land of his childhood, was more than a sentimental journey.

It was to affirm a quiet yet crucial US relationship with a significant Islamic nation where democracy burgeons, but that carefully hews to international nonalignment.

Indonesia is the most populous Muslim (but non-Arab) country in the world. It has survived colonization by the Dutch, World War II occupation by the Japanese, a fateful dalliance with communism under President Sukarno, a horrific bloodbath that followed, and a disappointing, corruption-ridden regime under President Suharto. Today, it is holding Islamist extremists at bay.

As US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has said: “If you want to know whether Islam, democracy, modernity, and women’s rights can coexist, go to Indonesia.”

Related: Muslim women find an ally for more rights: the Koran


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