A lone photojournalist exposes the madness.

• Islam Clouds Bali’s Horizon

Recently I returned to Indonesia to visit Balinese friends, with whom I worked for much of the 1990’s. I found a land and a people painfully changed in the aftermath of the 2002 and 2005 terrorist bombings.

Jimbaran Beach, Bali, one of the targets of the second Bali bombings on October 1, 2005.  Twenty people were killed, and 129 were injured. The murderers were al Qaeda’s  Jemaah Islamiah terrorists. Three were executed in Java today. The executions sparked joy and trepidation in Australia.

Above, a Balinese Hindu man and son walk together at sunset. Just over the horizon, to the west, is Java. The Hindu land of Bali is small and has a population of 3 million. Ruled from the island of Java, two miles away, the Balinese face increasing Muslim migration. Java has a mainly Muslim population of 125 million squeezed into an area half the size of California.

The terrorists struck these beach restaurants. These restaurants are my favorite places in the world for grilled seafood and cold, cold beer. Today they are suffering for business, but prior to the bombings they were absolutely packed with tourists from all over the world, starting about two hours before sunset. Above, very few diners watch the children, on the right, as they play football. A bridal couple can be seen on the beach to the left.


The men who were recently executed participated in the murders of 202 people and maiming of 209 others. They struck at 11:05 p.m. on October 12, 2002 at this location in the main tourist center of Kuta, Bali. One bomber detonated in Paddy’s Pub to cause mayhem and draw crowds to the area when a second, and much more powerful, bomb in a van was detonated in front of the Sari Club across the street from Paddy’s. A large swath of the buildings in the area were destroyed and the Sari Club, which was made of decorative bamboo, vaporized.

The Balinese have dedicated this memorial at the site of the 2002 Bali bombings exactly two years after the atrocity. We in America can learn a lot from the Balinese about appropriately memorializing the victims of terror. This is an entirely Balinese Hindu designed monument, which is both beautiful and symbolic.

The monument’s design contains dragons and fierce spirits which envelop and protect the dead from evil. These are very powerful Balinese Hindu symbols which not only represent, but are believed to be real physical beings. Here they protect the dead of many religions and nations. These spirits also guard the Balinese and visitors from evil in their everyday lives. Every Balinese home is guarded by statues of these spirits. Offerings of food, incense, flowers and holy water are made to the spirits repeatedly through every day by the beautiful Balinese women and girls.

A small boy walks on the edge of the fountain in the small plaza. The many potted plants are contributed and tended to by the people of Kuta.

Translation: Names of Bomb Blasting Victims of Legian Street Kuta

On the left of the black granite panel are listed eighty eight Australians. On the lower right of the photo above, Selandia Baru means New Zealand, and the two victims from that country are named.

Belanda = Holland – four dead.       Denmark – three dead.
Inggris = England – twenty three dead.   Italia  – one dead.
Jerman = Germany – six dead.

Prances = France – four dead.   Portugis = Portugal – one dead.
Polandia = Poland – one dead.   Swedia = Sweden – five dead
Swiss = Switzerland – three dead.  Yunani = Greece – one dead
Amerika Serikat = United States – seven dead. Brasil – two dead.
Equador  – one dead.  Canada – two dead.
Afrika Selatan = South Africa – two dead.

Jepang = Japan – two dead.   Taiwan – one dead.   Korea – two dead.
Indonesia – thirty eight dead.

It is apparent from the names that this list of Indonesians murdered includes many Balinese Hindus, many Javanese Muslims, and at least one Sikh man.

This is what the rebuilt Paddy’s Pub looks like today. The Sari Club no longer exists. The economic impact on all sectors in Bali is massive and ongoing. Signs of recovery from the 2002 bombings were shattered by the 2005 bombings. I spoke with a number of Balinese business leaders and they estimated a 70% total economic decline. The psychological and spiritual impact on the Balinese is also great. They are broken hearted, bankrupt, and hungry. Widespread suffering throughout the island is causing great anxiety and fear for the future of the Balinese people.

The 2002 bombings were the Balinese and Australian 9/11. The small Sari Bamboo Club’s destruction had a far more devastating impact on Bali than the twin towers’ destruction had on America. Small ethnic groups throughout the world do not have the strength and resilience of the world’s leading super power. Many Americans take comfort in military capacity and economic privilege. Complacency and fantasy are not luxuries that weaker targets of Islam can indulge in. They understand that Islam poses a threat to their existence, as individuals and as a society. Many in the west believe that only smaller societies like Bali are at risk from totalitarian Islam. This is a decadent illusion and a lack of understanding of the strength of Islamic ideology.

The Balinese have great love for America and Americans. Bali was freed from Japanese slavery by the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atom bombs. This may sound harsh, but I learned this truth in a harsh way. In Tampaksiring, Bali, an elderly priest, with whom I was doing business, upon our meeting, said the following words. “Thank God America A-bombed Japan. All our village men were taken as slaves to build tunnels for the Japanese in Candidasa. Because of the bombs I was freed.” This was a great shock to me. He was a beautiful old man and a famous carver of bone miniatures. He was also the first non European freed slave I’d ever met in my life. His name was Ida Bagus Tantra.

Balinese men and women pray for Bali in a highland temple.

All of Balinese culture and daily life is centered around temple activities. Immense amounts of time, energy and wealth are dedicated to the worship of peace and love and the spiritual struggle against evil, particularly that which is generated in the hearts on men.

A massive stone relief carving depicts daily ceremonial life. This is typical of a more modern style of religious art. Religious decorative art plays a central part in Balinese culture and sets the Balinese apart as a uniquely artistic people.

Temple dance is a most revered form of spirituality in Balinese Hindu culture. Here a twelve year old dewi, or living goddess, performs.

The Balinese are tolerant of other religions. Here my friend’s daughter embraces a life sized Buddha carved by her father. He supplies Japanese temples and has been honored in Japan by Buddhist authorities for his work. Elements of Christianity have found expression in some 20th century Balinese images. Islam however is regarded with fear. Relations with Javanese, who are increasing in numbers in Bali, have generally been cordial but separate. In private, Balinese have very little positive to say about their Muslim neighbors and have long blamed crime and corruption on the Javanese. The bombings and a rapid increase in mosque construction have shaken the Balinese to their core.

This is the man who introduced me to betel-nut chewing in the early 1990’s. In his mid 70’s,  he is incredibly strong, worries about nothing but his rice crop, and always has a smile for me and warm words.

This traditional Balinese oil painting depicts a 19th century warrior king. The Balinese are famous for their ferocity in war when provoked. The term to run amok comes from the Balinese. It means to go absolutely violent in battle. When not provoked, they are the most peaceful people in the world. When most of the Indonesian archipelago was colonized by the Dutch, Bali alone remained independent for centuries because the Dutch East India Company refused to mess with them.

Forty foot high traffic circle monument, Gianyar, Bali

In recent years Balinese authorities have constructed more and more large Hindu monuments. With these they are proclaiming to the Muslims of Indonesia that Bali is Hindu. While Javanese are allowed to build mosques by law anywhere in Indonesia, this is frowned upon and seen as religious colonialism by indigenous peoples in non-Muslim parts of the archipelago. It is not uncommon that communities stand up and force a mosque project to be terminated with the threat of violence. This happened in a new village in which my very close associate bought a small government project home. A large house was built in this Hindu neighborhood and only later it became apparent that it was actually a mosque. The entire neighborhood rose and threatened violence and the building has stood empty now for six years.

A mosque is central to community life in this industrial shanty town on the outskirts of Jakarta. Wahabi Islam is Saudi Arabia’s main export after oil, and the effects in Java and other parts of Indonesia are dramatic. Indonesia is the world’s most populous Muslim majority nation. In the 1990’s when I worked in Bali and Java the influence of Wahabi radicalism was growing rapidly. My Muslim friends were shocked by the growing use of head covering by young women at the universities. The fundamentalist trend funded by the Saudis accelerated through the 1990s and included Indonesians being trained by al Qaeda in Afghanistan. My friends say that six per cent of Muslims are now radical fundamentalists who support al Qaeda.

The main 7669 sq. meter building of the Central Java Grand Mosque in Semarang can hold up to 6000 people. This mosque was inaugurated in 2006. All over Indonesia there are many new mosques, and mosques under construction. The local who proudly showed me around this mosque confirmed to me that Saudi money paid for it.

The plaza, with an area of 7500 square meters, is equipped with giant metal umbrellas (closed, in foreground) that open and close mechanically. The only other ones like this are in Medina.

Is it just me, or does this architecture look like Dr. Evil’s Martian missile base?

Saudi Arabia is exporting the most intolerant and violent form of Islam to all corners of the world. Without Wahabist influence the Bali bombings would never have occurred.

Winston Churchill warned the world to be wary of the Wahabis. It’s not too late to start understanding the threat.

“The Wahabis profess a life of exceeding austerity, and what they practice themselves they rigorously enforce on others. They hold it as an article of duty, as well as of faith, to kill all who do not share their opinions and to make slaves of their wives and children. Women have been put to death in Wahabi villages for simply appearing in the streets. It is a penal offense to wear a silk garment. Men have been killed for smoking a cigarette, and as for alcohol, the most energetic supporter of the temperance cause in this country falls far behind them. Austere, intolerant, well armed, and bloodthirsty, in their own regions the Wahabis are a distinct factor which must be taken into account, and they have been, and still are, very dangerous to the holy cities of Mecca and Medina”    – Winston Churchill, House of Commons, 1921, The Culture and Glories of the Arab Race

I took this photo in the mid 1990’s. On the right, Balinese and Javanese bathe in the warm waters of Jimbaran Bay.

May the Gods Bless the Balinese people and all those who visit their land in peace.

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50 comments to • Islam Clouds Bali’s Horizon

  • A javanese muslim in bali

    Do you know that there are 500,000 Balinese people living throughout Indonesia outside Bali??

    Many Balinese are also living comfortably in Java and reach high government and military positions in Jakarta….

    Believe it or not….Javanese muslims also contribute significantly to Bali’s success as an international tourism destination. Even small things like “a bar of soap” are brought from Java to allow Bali relatively industry-free and focus on tourism, not to mention large amount of electricity sent through undersea cables and fuels. Bali is highly prioritized by central Government.

    Your Wahabi non-senses are laughable, try to spend a month with ordinary muslims in Java and you’ll question your western media-indoctrined beliefs.

    Javanese muslims are also as decent and friendly as Balinese hindus.

  • shihaam

    to RC
    please get your facts straight – what u speak of islam and our beloved prophet is not true – u are biased and evidently you dont know what u are talking – do proper research before u fabricate such lies
    shihaam – proud muslimah

  • R.C.

    It’s quite simple.

    Islam is currently divided (in both its Shia and Sunni implementations) between those who want to practice Islam authentically as taught by Mohammed, and those who want to modernize and internalize it. The latter are extraordinarily good neighbors. The former are, sadly, the actual orthodox Muslims.

    Mohammed, you see, was not merely a good synthesizer of Jewish and Christian theology and scruples, although he was certainly that: He took the most-believable and easily-agreed upon common bits of Judaism and Christianity and repackaged them into a canon more perfectly suited for 7th-century Arabian tribalism: A stripped-down and mechanistic monotheism.

    He was particularly clever about circumventing the endless debates between Jews and Christians about what constituted Holy Writ: Rather than collected works from many inspired authors (requiring interpretative effort and opening the door for disagreement about the nature of inspiration and which books belonged), Mohammed proffered a single work “dictated by God” in a single language from a single era of which any translation is regarded non-authoritative: A less messy and debate-prone proposition, and one promoting meme-cohesion and cultural cohesion in future followers by requiring the learning of that language.

    But Mohammed was more than than a plagiarizer, he was a warleader: An early Arabian attempt to produce Shaka Zulu. All schools of Islamic jurisprudence teach abrogation: That the later Suras, when they contradict the earlier, overrule the earlier.

    Unfortunately, this means that the more peaceful Suras (which date from the time that Islam was a minority movement incapable of waging open war against its neighbors) are overruled by the later ones (in which Mohammed calls all Muslims to dissimulate when in positions of weakness, but to conquer, humiliate, and subjugate all non-Muslims when opportunity arises).

    The Byzantine emperor correctly commented that Mohammed brought absolutely nothing new to the religious life of the world except one very bad thing; namely, the advocacy of forcible conversion, compelled obedience, and economic oppression to grind down the conquered who held to other monotheistic faiths. (Conquered pagans were to be killed outright.)

    This is old news to the jihadis. It isn’t often appreciated by the occidentalized Muslims who’re taught a bowdlerized form of Islam. Their children are getting the message, though, thanks to Saudi money.

    Some Muslims of the more peaceful variety have posted here, shocked and outraged at what is said about their faith. This is understandable: They genuinely don’t know. (Say what you like about Christians, but they’re generally keenly aware of the failings of their forebears. Then again, those failings can generally be shown to contradict the character of Jesus whereas Islamic violence is entirely in character with Mohammed’s regime.)

    My inclination is: Treat the occidentalized Muslims with respect, while gently nudging them towards the available evidence. I think most of them genuinely mean no harm; when they discover that Mohammed genuinely meant plenty of harm, they’ll have a choice to make, won’t they?

    But the genuine, authentic, unreconstructed Muslims (that is to say, the jihadis and their sympathizers)? I don’t see why they should be permitted free travel to or within any civilized country on earth. They are not practitioners of a religion, but members of an armed totalitarian political movement with religious overtones. All the difference in the world.

  • Regan

    I lost track of a friend in the 2005 Bali bombing. His nmae was Gary Clayton from Gulfport, Miss. Does anyone know the names of the american casualties in that bombing?

  • Jeff

    Thank you for an informative article and the beautiful, though sad, pictures. You’re doing an incredible job by telling the story of Bali to the world and through your other articles. You’ve been blessed with the art of conveying a message directly and “saying it like it is!”

    Thanks again and God bless!

  • ISLAM = peace

    jews are made some people which are not muslims to do all of bad thing in the name of islam

    just to make islam look evil , ok it wont happend most of

    i very proud of my brother muslims in indeonisa and people from other religon god bless you all

    by the way womens never killed in muslims country and even men for the reasons that you said stop telling people fake things about islam

    wonen killed in USA and westren country for cheting on her husband and raped all the time

    islam is make the women like pearl no one get it unless he is ready to marry it so she coverd her self so no body enjoy her expet her husband

    islam is the right way every body love this religion just read a true thing

    • admin

      Islam = Submission, so don’t parrot the lie about peace. Indonesian moslem women do not cover themselves except those who have been radicalized by Saudi trained clerics. Arabs also say that a woman is like a candy. You keep it wrapped or it will be covered in flies. What an ignorant, perverted, filthy concept. Equally perverted is your contention that jews made your moslem brothers bomb Bali. Here is one article from today about how Islam treats women in Arabia. Also you might be interested in a movie titled “Death of a Princess”. It’s about the perverts who rule Saudi Arabia.

      A 13-year-old girl has been sentenced to 90 lashes and two months’ prison
      in Saudi Arabia after she took a mobile phone to school.

      A court ordered the girl to be flogged in front of her classmates
      following an assault on the school principal, according to the Saudi daily newspaper Al-Watan.


  • Fahad

    Are you serious!!!

    I’m a proud Muslim Saudi and i’ve been to Bali twice, and i say this is Nonsense

    Also I’m a Wahhabi and i still don’t understand what is a Wahhabi!!? You say that Saudi get killed just buy Smoking cigarettes!!! or women walk on streets !! seriously man i don’t know where you get your source from.

    FYI Saudi Arabia is facing terrorist too , basically the world is suffering from the ones who they call them self Al qada.

    Bali doesn’t even have Mosques or any Muslim Identity and they declare them self as Hindu, and yet you jump to an island called Java where the majority are Muslims, when Saudi help them to build a good place to worship Allah you consider it as enforcement.

    • admin

      You are right about Saudi Arabia experiencing some terrorism. It’s moslem on moslem and it makes the civilized peoples of the world sick. Saudi Arabia has fomented and financed terrorist groups for many many years. When moslems aren’t killing Hindus in Bali or Buddhists in Thailand or Black Africans in Sudan or Jews in Israel or Americans (and people from 80 other nations) in New York City, they are blowing each other to bits in Saudi and Iraq and Pakistan and Jordan etc. etc. etc. So, “proud muslim Saudi”, it’s hard for us to feel sorry for you when you are so busy fomenting terror against non-moslems and at the same time, terrorizing each other.

      The bombers of Bali are very very proud moslems too. Why are they so proud? Are you as proud as they are? After reading about what your people did to the Balinese how can you comment here and say how proud you are? A moderate moslem would not mention pride in this context.

      I have moslem friends in Indonesia. We drink beer together and they are very trustworthy and loyal friends for many years. We work together and they always watch out for me. They are ashamed of what happened in Bali and they are very clear when they speak about it.

      You say there are no mosques in Bali. Bali does have plenty of mosques. Most Saudis avoid Bali because it’s a Hindu land and it’s brothels that they don’t have. Saudi tourists go to moslem Java because there are many thousands of brothels that cater to arabs. The people of Java refer to prostitution as “Saudi sport” because Saudis are the number one customers. Maybe that’s why you didn’t notice any mosques in Bali. You say you were in Bali twice yet you didn’t pray in a single mosque in Bali? What were you doing? My moslem friends all go to mosque every Friday in Bali. All moslem shops are closed on Friday. Where do you think they are? It’s not hard to find a mosque there. On friday groups of men from Java and Madura cannot be missed as they walk to worship with their submission rugs on their shoulders.

      In 1900 Bali was 99.6% Hindu with a few Chinese and westerners but not one single mosque. Today up to 7% are moslem who chauvinistically regard the Balinese as savages. They live separately and resentful of the Balinese success in tourism and export trade. This points to one of the motives of all Islamic terrorists. They want to damage the successful “other” and in so doing ease the extreme embarrassment that success inflicts on the moslem psyche. It is for this same reason that they attack the west and by extension Israel. During the last 4 decades of the 20th century tiny Bali became the largest foreign currency earner in Indonesia, far out-performing Java in per-capita income. As the world marveled at Bali’s success in export and tourism the Javanese grew jealous and embarrassed by their relative poverty and failure to attract commerce.

      It’s this moslem pride which you claim that caused the Bali bombings. Pride in Islam always manifests itself in violence because that’s how mohammed lived his life. The central principal in islam is submission, and those who do no submit by paying tax and groveling to islam must be attacked until they convert, or bow down and accept the yoke of sharia law. Woe to them that demonstrate to the world by their industry what retrograde failures moslem societies are by comparison.

      Hindu’s are marked doubly by Islam because they pray in a multi-faceted divine realm. As polytheists they are excluded from any accommodation according to sharia. One only has to strike up a conversation with a Sikh or Hindu man from India to learn of the many millions killed there over the centuries by moslems following islamic rules.

      The Dayak of Borneo, Indonesia were head-hunters until the colonial powers outlawed and stopped it in the 18th and 19th centuries. When are moslems going to stop being head-hunters? When will Saudi Arabia stop chopping women’s heads off in public in the name of your king? How many heads did the perfect man cut with his sword for the ancient arabian moon god? I hope you are not so proud a moslem that you would follow his example and kill for allah.

      El Marco

  • Thank you very much for your Text on behalf of Bali today, after the bombings. We were in Bali in 1995 and 1996, at the Keraton Bali, Jimbaran Bay. We had enjoyed Red Snapper ready made at the smoking grills. It was heaven. My friend and brother Kade Kajak from Bali has a restaurant there, as a boy he had to tend the straw-hut at night, sleeping in the sand. It is so terrible and sad what happened, no doubt. But. I have also a big BUT. For everyone who looked behind the scene could see what went wrong. We ought to help Bali in every possible way. I’ll do what I can.

  • Y2K


  • Luigi Mackferoni

    I’ve always dreamed of going to Bali, but during these days it is too dangerous with all the arabs moving into the area. Unfortunately, our beautiful USA is being threatened by Mr. Obama’s policies. He needs to be removed from his position of President of this beautiful country.

    • admin

      Luigi please do visit Bali. It is very safe and the people are a sight to behold. They need our support and every tourist that goes there helps them be strong. They need us and it is one way we can say NUTS!! to Islamists. They have hunted down the Al Quaida types in Java and killed another top leader recently. The Balinese are so welcoming. Do yourself a favor and visit. September is best. If you like the heat it’s January. El Marco

  • Steven

    I’m a proud Aussie, and I would love to meet the Balinese Hindus and their culture, one of the most tolerance and beautiful in the World. The Balinese Arts and Crafts is one of my favourite. The Balinese Hindus should keep standing up and defend their culture and territory from the intolerant Arabs and other muslims who looking for trouble and dominating their hate and intolerance religion.

  • Jake

    Thanks for a sober article. I’m sending this off to a few people . It is almost more disturbing than watching the actual bombing. Its like slowburn

  • FeFe

    I got misty eyed too. Plus, I started daydreaming. Always a good sign when the subject sparks the readers imagination. Lovely.

  • TZH

    This is so beautiful that it made me cry.

  • remember kinana

    thanks for your report

    What you write above is a lesson for us all in ‘standing up’ to Islamic encroachment:

    In recent years Balinese authorities have constructed more and more large Hindu monuments. With these they are proclaiming to the Muslims of Indonesia that Bali is Hindu. While Javanese are allowed to build mosques by law anywhere in Indonesia, this is frowned upon and seen as religious colonialism by indigenous peoples in non-Muslim parts of the archipelago. It is not uncommon that communities stand up and force a mosque project to be terminated with the threat of violence. This happened in a new village in which my very close associate bought a small government project home. A large house was built in this Hindu neighborhood and only later it became apparent that it was actually a mosque. The entire neighborhood rose and threatened violence and the building has stood empty now for six years.

  • Albertan

    Excellent story, beautiful pictures. You reminded me to go back and see this lovely land. And soon, before it is ruined even more.

  • masih cintai jawa

    I hate what the arabs do to java. They do nothing but poison minds and abuse people, and are destroying a country I love. It makes me so angry and sad.
    It makes me want to cry

  • JAmesD

    I am depressed. I fear there is no hope for such beautiful and peaceful people around the world. There are just too many Muslims. They are going to destroy us all, and there is nothing we can do about it.

  • MK

    Thanks for the post, excellent job.

  • Robert

    My company was the only US Airline to fly from US Territory direct to Bali. The discontinuation of that service was made for economic reasons which were obviously influenced by the bombings.
    It’s sad really….a truly beautiful people and place.

  • Stew

    Kel #6,
    I’m willing to wager right now that it won’t be Pres. Obama.

  • Is it just me, or does this architecture look like Dr. Evil’s Martian missile base?

    A friend who is former CIA and presently a building inspector has pointed out that mosques are designed more like armories than like houses of worship. Unlike Christianity, Buddhism or Judaism, Islam is a warrior’s religion.

    Although Bali has a small number of extremists, very few countries compare to London, which is lousy with Salafists and Saudis. Given a choice between a visit to Bali or London, I’d guess Bali would be safer – and the weather is a lot nicer!

    Beautiful photographs!

  • craig

    Kel callen,

    You left out the 100’s, if not 1000’s, or bombings in Iraq, which has included blowing up mosques.

  • kel callen

    For the love of God, won’t anyone stop them before it is too late? What will it take? They have already flown planes into buildings in New York-blown up cars in Scotland, blown up bars in Bali and pizza parlors in Israel. What part of this is not a religion of peace don’t people get?

  • IslandLibertarian

    Thank you for shedding light on the beautiful culture of the Balinese.
    I have been all over the world and Bali is my favorite place for the geography and the people.
    Terima kasih!

  • USC

    Thank you for a great article with wonderful photos on Bali and the impact that the terrorist bombings had on the island and its people. We visited Bali for 5 days last year (our daughter and her husband live in Singapore and travel to Bali often), though we did not make it to Kuta this trip to see the memorial; most of our time was spent in and around Ubud, with a day trip to Bangli and the temple at Batur, but we were able to spend the late afternoon and evening of our last day in-country at Jimbaran Beach enjoying a medley of a balmy sunset, grilled fresh seafood and Bintang Beer. The Balinese are among some of the most warmest and friendly people I’ve met during my travels in Southeast Asia, and I sincerely hope that they are able to maintain their soul, spirituality and way of life in the face of the threat of increasing Muslim immigration. Thanks again.

    Warm regards,

  • Illuminating text and images. I’d recommend sending it to Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit, if you haven’t already, to gain a larger readership. I’ll see if britsattheirbest can link to the memorial. One question – what is the population of Bali?

    All the best,


  • Stupendous job! Magnificent photos.

    Gorgeous land, people, and the memorial is moving.

    Very scary looking mosque, however….

  • What a beautiful country.

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