Indonesia's vice president promoted a plan to fingerprint students at Islamic boarding schools Wednesday, saying the country was waging an all-out war against terrorism. "This is total war," Yusuf Kalla told delegates at a terrorism conference in the capital Jakarta. "This is our war to fight the people who fight us without reason."
Indonesia is the world's most populous Muslim nation, but most people here practice a moderate form of the faith. Still, al-Qaida-linked militants have carried out five deadly suicide bombings targeting Western interests since 2002. More than 240 people have died, many of them Indonesians.
After an attack on the resort island of Bali two months ago, the government launched its first-ever campaign against hardline interpretations of Islam. Among other things, it is looking at a handful of pesantren, or Muslim schools, that are committed to jihadist principles.
The government says fingerprinting thousands of Islamic students nationwide could later help identify terrorists, but some lawmakers and religious leaders oppose the plan.
"Why must pesantren be allergic to this?" Kalla asked, noting that as vice president he too has been fingerprinted. "It's good. Let's look at it in a positive way," reports the AP. I.L.