The parents of a 4-year-old girl, who suffered severe burns in a terror attack on a church in Indonesia’s East Kalimantan province, have forgiven the accused, identified as a former convicted terrorist linked to the Islamic State group, and have said they will not even ask God to punish him.
A bomb, reportedly a molotov cocktail, was thrown inside the Gereja Oikumene Church compound in Samarinda, East Kalimantan, where children were playing, on Sunday, killing a toddler and injuring three other infants, The Jakarta Post reported.
The girl’s parents say, “God teaches us to forgive and not to pay revenge,” Simanjuntak was quoted as saying. “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.”
The mother did not pray to God to punish the accused, she added, according to the Post.
Samarinda is a Muslim-majority area, with a sizeable population of Protestants and Catholics.
The bomber has been identified as Johanda, and arrested. “Johanda was released on parole after receiving sentence cuts during the celebration of Idul Fitri festivities on July 28, 2014. He has been arrested and detained at the Samarinda Police Office,” National Police spokesman Insp. Gen. Boy Rafly was quoted as saying.
Johanda, reportedly linked to the Islamic State, also known as IS, ISIS, ISIL or Daesh, was arrested for his alleged role in a terror attack in Jakarta in January, and was supposed to have remained in prison until 2017 on terrorism charges, but the Law and Human Rights Ministry chose to shorten his sentence by two years, paving a way for him to seek parole.
The accused is from Jamaah Ansharut Daulah, an Indonesian terrorist faction that supports IS. University of Indonesia terrorism expert Ridwan Habib believes IS is seeking to create sectarian tensions between Christians and Muslims in the country, which is home to the world’s largest Muslim population.
Ridwan was quoted as saying that the attack came days after IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi made a public call for all IS sympathizers to launch sporadic attacks across the world as the terror group faced defeat in Mosul, Iraq.
While the majority of the people in Indonesia are known to be tolerant and moderate, there are several extremist Islamist groups in the country. According to Human Rights Watch, more than 1,000 churches in the archipelago have been closed over the last decade due to pressure from such groups.