Julie Bishop opened an Australian diplomatic post in what is regarded as a hotbed of Indonesian Islamic radicalism as part of a bipartisan effort to use economic opportunity to combat extremism. The Foreign Minister arrived in Jakarta yesterday for a three-day visit to Indonesia, Australia’s nearest neighbour and the world’s most populous Muslim country. Ms Bishop opened a new Australian consulate-general in Makassar on the island of Sulawesi, about 1400km north-east of Jakarta. It is Australia’s third diplomatic post in Indonesia. Makassar is Indonesia’s fifth-largest city and a commercial hub for Australians doing business in eastern Indonesia. Sulawesi is where militant group Darul Islam hatched, a group that produced Jemaah Islamiyah, the al-Qaida-linked terror group responsible for the devastating Bali attacks more than a decade ago. Radical clerics in Makassar have been accused of recruiting Sulawesi locals to fight in Syria and Iraq for the terrorist network Islamic State.
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