Parents of 4-Year-Old Girl Burned In Indonesian Church Bombing Refuse to Condemn Attacker, Say ‘God Teaches Us to Forgive and Not to Pay Revenge’

(PHOTO: ANTARA FOTO/AMIRULLOH/VIA REUTERS) Police stand near the scene of an explosion outside a church in Samarinda, East Kalimantan, Indonesia on November 13, 2016.
(PHOTO: ANTARA FOTO/AMIRULLOH/VIA REUTERS)
Police stand near the scene of an explosion outside a church in Samarinda, East Kalimantan, Indonesia on November 13, 2016.

The bomb attack perpetrated by alleged Islamic State (IS) group sympathizers at a church in Samarinda, East Kalimantan, killing a toddler and injuring three others, aimed to provoke religious tensions in the area, an analyst says.
But the terror group will likely fail at achieving this goal, as both Muslims and Christians have condemned the attack, which came at a time when the country is facing a growing threat of religious intolerance.

Instead of blaming a specific religion for the attack, religious followers have left it up to law enforcement bodies to resolve the case, a move that has prevented the emergence of sectarian conflict in the area, University of Indonesia (UI) terrorism expert Ridwan Habib said.

The majority of Samarinda’s residents are Muslim, with 841,682 adherents, followed by Protestantism with 52,445 followers and Catholicism with 22,554 followers.

East Kalimantan has never experienced a religious conflict before, but the province saw a bloody ethnic conflict in one of its cities, Tarakan, in 2010. Another bloody ethnic conflict rocked Sampit in neighboring Central Kalimantan in 2001.

Triggering sectarian conflict was the typical goal of IS attacks, Ridwan said. Targeting a church, he said, would create tension between Muslims and Christians in the region, especially Christian followers from the Dayak tribe, one of the largest tribes in the region.

But so far there is no indication that the attack will trigger retaliation from local Christians.

The family of Trinity Hutahaean, a 4-year-old toddler who was severely wounded in the attack, said they had forgiven the alleged perpetrator, identified as Johanda.

Trinity’s aunt Roina Simanjuntak said that the family would let God decide whether revenge was exacted on Johanda for his attack on a group of innocent toddlers playing in the church compound with a
molotov cocktail.

Roina added that the family also did not condemn the attacker because “God teaches us to forgive and not to pay revenge”.

“I have a big hope that my family members, especially Trinity’s mother, can face this hard time. She is still in trauma after seeing what happened to her child, Roina said on Tuesday as quoted by kompas.com.

Trinity’s mother remained patient and did not pray for God to punish Johanda, Roina added.

“Don’t let this incident happen again in the future. [The offender] has done enough to hurt the family.”

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SOURCE: The Jakarta Post
Haeril Halim and Liza Yosephine