Monday, May 14, 2018

Pray for Surabaya

In the last couple days there have been four terrorist bombings on the island of Java, three in the city of Surabaya. The targets of the terrorists were Christian churches. At least 13 have been killed (not counting the suicide bombers) and more than 40 injured. One family was at the center of these attacks. The family had recently returned from Syria, where they had joined ISIS forces in the conflict there. 

The mother and two children, aged 9 and 12, blew themselves up after forcing their way into Diponegoro Indonesian Christian Church. The father and his sons attacked two more churches with explosives loaded into a car and two motorbikes. 

While the Indonesian police, military, and a special anti-terror force called Densus-88 have done an excellent job at breaking up terrorist groups, often before they were able to launch an attack, extremist groups continue to grow, bolstered by the influence of ISIS. Hundreds of Indonesians went to fight in Syria, although I have no idea why the government allowed this, or why they allowed them to re-enter Indonesia. 

Nor do I know what the goal of blowing up oneself and other people is. History shows us that persecution is more likely to strengthen a faith rather than weaken it. Persecution grows the muscles of resolve. 

In any case, it is a sad day for Indonesia, and for those who had merely gathered to worship God. But there are those whose god is a killer, a merciless mutilator of men, women and children. There are those who worship this god with their blood and with the blood of other human beings. There are those whose hearts are filled with hate and murder, and they call these holiness and devotion. Their legacy on earth is shame and their legacy in heaven is eternal death.

Christians and Muslims alike have gathered in person and online to pray for the victims, and President Jokowi, a Muslim, has condemned the attacks as "barbaric", resolving to even further strengthen anti-terrorism forces in the country.  

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