Wednesday, February 05, 2003

PM Howard 'risks radicalising Muslims' - Indonesia
"The Prime Minister's strong pro-United States stance on Iraq risked radicalising the Islamic world and fanning hostility towards Australia, says Indonesia's Foreign Minister, Hassan Wirajuda. In the most candid criticism yet of Australia by a leading figure in the current Indonesian Government, Mr Wirajuda also concurred with Malaysia's view that Australia saw itself as a US "deputy sheriff" in the region, saying its stance was damaging relations with his country.

"Mr Wirajuda added that Muslims would not see the Iraq issue in isolation. "Israel continues to enjoy with impunity their violations of the Palestinians' rights." A terrorism expert at the Australian National University, Clive Williams, agreed that Australia risked becoming more of a terrorist target because of its high-profile support of the US. "The strength of the reaction will depend on how long the war lasts for," he said. The greater danger would be to Australians living overseas rather than at home."

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