A month of fasting and religious reflection has calmed political passions among many of Indonesia's moderate Muslims about the tortured state of their own country and the course of the war in Afghanistan. As Ramadan ended with a thud of drums and fireworks, many Indonesian Muslims prayed for peace at home and abroad. Streets were littered with the leftovers of a night of rowdy festivity marked by explosions from firecrackers, carnival-style fire-eaters and crowded minibuses hurtling through town with young men on their roofs - six of whom died in Jakarta alone. Messages from mosques in the capital city's neighbourhoods also called upon Allah to 'open the minds of our leadership elite to think honestly of how to solve our problems', said one Muslim grandmother, who was busy greeting her relatives and friends celebrating Eid al-Fitr, the breaking of the fast. Families gathered at home to eat and discuss how to bring a new piety to daily life in the other 11 months of the year. Millions of other Indonesians fought their way on to jam-packed trains and buses to get to their home villages in time to celebrate. Heightened security, including the stationing of snipers along main roads, was in place to limit the thieving and fighting that can break out in the crowds. Last year, when the end of Ramadan coincided more closely with Christmas, a series of bombs ripped through churches across the archipelago. This year, despite a vicious renewal of conflict in Central Sulawesi between warring villages of Muslims and Christians, the authorities are hoping for less trouble. In the weeks before the fasting month, Muslim political passions were intensified by the start of US bombing in Afghanistan in retaliation for the terror attacks of September 11. Militant Muslim groups had threatened Americans and other foreigners in Indonesia for allegedly being 'at war with Islam' and many foreigners began to doubt longstanding assumptions about the essential tolerance and moderation of Indonesian Islam. Now, after the rapid collapse of the Taleban in Afghanistan, several leading figures and many ordinary Indonesians have realised that not every initiative of the West is bad. There has been progress in Indonesia towards religious tolerance. At present, any non-Muslim must convert to Islam if they want to marry a Muslim, but that restriction may soon be lifted. 'At a time when things might have become more violent and divisive, instead this Government has made more progress in the past month than in 20 years toward allowing, at last, inter-faith marriages,' a US diplomat said. 'And that whole aspect of condemnation of bombing during Ramadan has seemingly dropped from sight.' The diplomat added that members of his staff said they now realised the Taleban was not in any case a regime that Indonesia officially recognised. 'As Indonesian Muslims, you know, we also don't like the terrorism of some groups which claim to be Muslim,' the grandmother said. 'They are the sort of people who make most of us Muslims look bad when their idea of faith is very different to ours. And for the women, too, we don't wear all those burqa and suchlike, it is not in our belief. We Muslims are people who believe in peace.' However short-lived, the post-Ramadan mood of brotherly and sisterly love spreads to concern that foreigners might have felt nervous in Indonesia lately. 'It is for this Government to try harder to bring more security to all our lives here,' said a computer technician visiting his mother for Eid al-Fitr. President Megawati Sukarnoputri hovered in a helicopter over Java's grid-locked highways on Saturday, observing the annual mass pilgrimage to their home towns. Navy warships ferried tens of thousands of travellers between the islands. Train and bus terminals in the capital have reported sending off up to 27,000 passengers a day each. But the fight was all part of the fun, said one cheerful traveller among the 2.5 million leaving the capital at the weekend. 'It's a contest to push and shove and squeeze your way through crowds to get a spot, and when you do, you throw your arms in the air and cheer, and everyone cheers with you,' he said beaming, despite facing the prospect of a 12-hour journey home to his central Java village. 'When you're out on the roads, you meet your friends along the way . . . Everyone's in it together, and everyone's happy because they're going home, so it's like a big party and it doesn't matter how slow the trip is. Then we do it all again on the journey back. Eid al-Fitr wouldn't be the same without it.'