People taking part in a vigil in Jakarta on Monday (14/11) following the attack on a church in Samarinda, East Kalimantan, on Sunday. (SP Photo)

Gov't Urged to Act Against 'Soft Terrorism' After Samarinda Church Attack


NOVEMBER 15, 2016

Jakarta. Observers are pushing for tougher measures against so-called soft terrorism, or acts of religious intolerance, following the recent attack on a church that claimed the life of a toddler.

The 2-year-old girl died and three more children were seriously injured when a Molotov cocktail exploded in front of a church in Samarinda district, East Kalimantan, on Sunday morning (13/11).

The assault took place nearly three months after a suicide bomber launched a failed attack on a church in Medan, North Sumatra.

The government's lack of action again religious intolerance has resulted in radical groups launching violent attacks with a general sense of impunity, said Hendardi, head of the Setara Institute, a nongovernmental organization that conducts research and advocacy on democracy, human rights and political freedom.

"This incident will prompt the government to improve efforts to counter intolerance, or soft terrorism, that may transform into more violent acts," Hendardi said in a statement on Monday.

In recent years, religious minorities have often been subject to violent attacks in Indonesia – the world's most populous Muslim-majority country.

"Acts of religious intolerance must be defeated by various political, social and legal policies to prevent more violent incidents," Hendardi said.

Police have identified the suspect in the Samarinda church bomb attack as a former terror convict, who was released from prison in July 2014. At least 15 people have been arrested in connection with the incident.