Indonesia is an affront to the forces of extreme Islam. Its archipelago is home to more Muslims than any other nation. It is a flourishing democracy, with its first directly elected president having taken office just last year. And its government has taken a stand against violent Islamic fundamentalists, hunting down leaders of the regional version of al-Qaida, Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), and disrupting much of that terrorist organization.
In 2002, when 202 people, including many foreign vacationers, were killed by terrorist bombs on Indonesia's island of Bali, the attack was widely viewed in part as retribution for Australia's backing of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Three years later, the second such obscene act on Bali - the simultaneous suicide bombings that Saturday killed about 20 people - represents an attack on Jakarta's moderation. The easy target of Bali, with its uniquely tolerant Hindu-dominated culture that draws tourists from around the globe, serves both political ends well.