there are of course disputes about how effective this method has been in combating terrorism, but it seems an interesting alternative, one that could be developed further.
His remorse over the massacre of civilians and the Indonesian police's careful handling of him transformed Abbas. From a terrorist commander he became a terrorist counselor, working with the police to try to convince other captured militants that their interpretation of Islam is wrong.
"I (came to) understand that the Bali bombings were a crime, not a jihad," he says.
"Because terrorism is an ideologically motivated crime, it is not possible to stop it using mere physical operations," said Ansyaad Mbai, the head of the Indonesian government's Counter-Terrorism Coordinating Desk. "Based on our experience, the harder we hit them with military force, the more radical they become."
Mbai is critical of the Bush administration's approach to fighting terrorism. The war in Iraq, in particular, has made the job of handling terrorism in Indonesia harder, he said: "Even the moderate Muslim leaders find it difficult to explain that the war taking place in the Middle East is not a war against Islam."
Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim country, treats terrorism as a crime, not a cause for war.
23 October 2008
indonesia's fight against terrorism includes trying to 'de-radicalize' militants by debating religion with them. their greatest success is nasir abbas, a senior commander of jemaah islamiya, the group responsible for the bali bombings of 2002.