- The Washington Times - Monday, November 18, 2002

Struggle within Islam
The war against terrorism has exposed a conflict within Islam itself, as centrist Muslims struggle against Islamic extremists, said Singapore's deputy prime minister, Lee Hsien Loong.
"Within the wider Islamic religious and political revival, there are radical factions who use terrorism and violence in the name of Islam," he said last week.
"The struggle is not really between Muslims and non-Muslims but within the Muslim world itself, between moderate and extremist Muslims."
Mr. Lee urged centrist Muslims "to prevent the extremists from hijacking the Muslim identity and agenda" by speaking out against violence.
Addressing Fortune magazine's Global Forum at the Four Seasons Hotel, he said the "vast majority" of Muslims in Southeast Asia are "peaceful and moderate in their beliefs."
However, large Muslim populations are a "natural host for extremist groups seeking concealment and political cover," he said.
The challenge for governments in the region is to control the extremists without alienating the centrists or "opening themselves to attack by Islamic political groups," he said.
The Bali bombings in Indonesia showed governments in the region that no one is immune from terrorist attacks, he said.
"In Indonesia, the government has been extremely circumspect in acknowledging and tackling the threat," he said. "However, the Bali bombings have changed the situation and made it much easier for the government to act."
However, Indonesian President Megawati Sukarnoputri must be careful against appearing anti-Muslim or as a stooge of the United States.
"She has been careful to protect her political flanks," he said.
Mr. Lee, the son of Singaporean Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew, said his government has arrested 13 members of Jemaah Islamiyah, one of the most dangerous terrorist groups in the region.

Diplomatic traffic
Foreign visitors in Washington this week include:
Today
David Trimble, first minister of Northern Ireland, who has meetings with the National Security Council, and House and Senate staffers this week. He also speaks at the Heritage Foundation and the New Atlantic Initiative.
Raul Diez-Canseco, Peru's vice president and minister of foreign trade and tourism.
Severo Moto, an opposition leader in Equatorial Guinea, who meets House and Senate staff Africa specialists and National Security Council and State Department officials this week. He also holds meetings with the International Republican Institute, the National Democratic Institute and the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
Hanae Bekkari, vice president of the Tangier Medina Foundation in Morocco, who discusses urban preservation in Tangier at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.
Boris Jordan, chief executive officer of Russia's NTV and Gazprom Media. He holds a 2 p.m. news conference at the National Press Club.
Tomorrow
Miguel Lacayo, El Salvador's economic minister. He speaks at the Inter-American Dialogue on free trade in Central America.
Hong Kong Solicitor General Robert Allcock, who has meetings this week with congressional and administration officials and the American Bar Association. He holds a 4 p.m. news conference at the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office on Wednesday.
Alfred van Staden, director of the Netherlands Institute of International Affairs, and Col. Ralph D. Thiele of the German army's Center for Analyses and Studies. They join a panel discussion on the NATO summit at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.
Djoomart Otorbayev, deputy prime minister Kyrgyzstan, who discusses political and economic issues in his country at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. On Wednesday, he addresses the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Wednesday
Muchadeyi Ashton Masunda, director of Zimbabwe's Commercial Arbitration Center, who reviews the political situation in Zimbabwe at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.
Thursday
Ruslan Khasbulatov, former chairman of the Russian parliament, who discusses the war in Chechnya at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.


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