Indonesian civil groups condemned the church bombings in Surabaya, East Java, on Sunday (13/05), and called for a unified rally behind the government to fight all form of terrorism.(Antara Photo/Didik Suhartono)

Civil Groups Condemn Church Bombings, Support Gov't to Take Stern Action


MAY 13, 2018

Jakarta. Indonesian civil groups condemned the church bombings in Surabaya, East Java, on Sunday (13/05), and called for a unified rally behind the government to fight all form of terrorism.

"Islam condemns all forms of violence. There is not one religion in this world that justifies the use of violence," Indonesia’s biggest Muslim organization, Nahdlatul Ulama, said in a statement on Sunday.

"All forms of violence are a contradiction to Islamic teachings, and all other religious teachings," NU said.

Three suicide bombings rocked Surabaya churches earlier on Sunday, killing at least 11 people and wounding 40 other members of Christian congregations and security forces.

"Whoever did it, the bombings have inflicted damage to the people, nation and humanity," said M. Saad Ibrahim, chairman of East Java chapter of Muhammadiyah, the second largest Islamic organization in the country.

"We strongly disagree with the suicide bombing. Especially aimed at the symbols of religion," Saad said.

Usman Hamid, the executive director of Amnesty International Indonesia, called for the government to take swift action and to bring whoever was responsible to justice.

"Although no group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack against civilians, these attacks constitute a clear violation of international and national laws. The Indonesian authorities must immediately carry out an impartial and exhaustive investigation in order to bring those responsible to justice," Usman said.

Jakarta-based human rights group Setara Institute also condemned the deadly bombings but warned the public that they could inadvertently help the terrorists' cause by circulating violent images or videos from the bombing scene.

"Condolences do not need to be demonstrated by spreading images, videos and other materials that spread fear even more widely, as every violent action desires," Setara said in a statement.

Indonesia’s biggest political party, the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), condemned Sunday’s church bombings in Surabaya, seeing it as direct threat to national unity.

"Anyone who undermines the state’s dignity must be dealt with using all legal, political, economic, social and cultural approaches, as well as mobilizing the power of people to be actively involved in resisting radicalism. The state is also entitled to use all state instruments, both law enforcement, Polri [National Police] and TNI [Indonesian Military], and state bureaucracies to counter terrorism," Hasto Kristiyanto, the party’s secretary general, said in a press release.

Escalated Conflict

The bombings marked an escalated clash between Islamist militants and local security forces in the past week.

Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD), a local umbrella terrorist organization that has stated allegiance to the Islamic State, is suspected to be behind the attacks, said Wawan Purwanto, communications director at Indonesia's State Intelligence Agency (BIN).

"This is connected to the attack at Mako Brimob earlier this week," Purwanto said, referring to the riot at a high security jail outside of Jakarta.

"Their main target is the law and security enforcement, but they also have alternatives in case that does not pan out," he said.

Four days ago, 156 terrorist inmates, some of whom were JAD members, instigated a riot at Brimob headquarters, killing five anti-terror police officers and one inmate.

The riot ended on Friday morning after the remaining inmates surrendered following a 36-hour standoff.

Shortly after, a policeman was stabbed to death outside the prison compound by a suspected militant, who was also put down by other officers.

Later the police apprehended two females, who were allegedly carrying poisoned scissors and were planning on attacking the compound.

The police later shot two suspected terrorists and arrested two others in Bekasi, West Java.

Hours before the bombings in Surabaya, the National Police’s counter-terrorism unit, Densus 88, pursued and shot four suspected terrorists in Cianjur, West Java.