The attacks left at least seven people dead, though other estimates suggest that casualties may have been higher. Indonesian Head General Tito Karnavian said that the family included two young daughters, ages 9 and 12.
According to Karnavian, the daughters were caught in the blast as their mother detonated one of the bombs. The father detonated a car-bomb of his own at another location shortly thereafter. The couple’s teen sons executed another attack on a different church only a short time later.
The official time-line of events is as follows. The father, identified as Dita Sopriyanto, drove a van to the Indonesian Christian Church and dropped off his wife and their two young daughters.
The wife then took the girls into the church and detonated her bomb, killing all three. The father then drove his van to Pentecost Central Church, where he detonated his own bomb (this one inside the vehicle) in front of the church.
At the same time, Sopriyanto’s sons drove motorcycles to Santa Maria Catholic Church, where they set off bombs of their own. Evidence at the scene suggests that the bombs were all suicide vests; attached to the bodies of the attackers.
More bombs were found at the family home as well.
Although ISIS has already claimed responsibility for this horrific attack, investigators believe the family was affiliated with a group called Jamaah Ansharut Daulah, which is an ISIS-affiliate operating across Indonesia.
Indonesia is 82% Muslim, and with around 260 million people spread throughout, it’s also considered the most populous country in the Muslim-held world. Only about 10% of the population is Christian. Indonesia has had a real problem with domestic terrorism since the turn of the century.
An Al-Qaeda affiliate there, named Jemaah Islamiyah, carried out at least 11 attacks between 2000 and 2010. That number includes the 2002 Bali bombings, which killed more than 200 and left hundreds more seriously injured.
ISIS has also been involved in the country, both directly and through proxies, for several years. In May of last year a pair of bombers blew themselves up in a Jakarta bus station, killing three and wounding eleven. Authorities suspected ISIS had been behind that attack.
This latest series of attacks against the Christian population of Indonesia only underscores the deep brutality and hypocrisy of the terrorist scum who are infesting the Muslim world. Out of one side of their mouth they preach the fantasy that theirs is a “religion of peace.” Those who make an apology for the brutal, anti-democratic governments of the Muslim world will often point to Indonesia as an example of a Muslim-majority nation which enjoys peace and relative prosperity.
But the events of yesterday should prove that Indonesia is hardly a great model for a free and prosperous society. (It bears mentioning that there is already one province in Indonesia which applies Sharia law – namely Aceh. Women there can be publicly whipped for going out in public without covering their heads.)
The impossibility of Muslim-majority nations to foster true religious toleration is an issue that few in the West really want to confront. But the issue lies at the heart of the Islamic view of other religions. They will never see Christians (or Jews, or Hindus, or Buddhists, or anyone of any other faith) as equals.
Their religion demands that they make war upon the kafir – the unbeliever – using any stratagem available. The ultimate goal of this struggle is to force the unbeliever to recognize – and submit to – the will of Allah.
Islam, properly and traditionally understood, demands political opposition and sometimes even violent struggle against those who profess different faiths. And even those majority-Muslim countries which have presented themselves as “secular” (like Indonesia, or Turkey) are lately growing more hostile to the West and the cultural artifacts of Western-ness.
Make no mistake. We are locked in an ancient and terminal struggle with these people. Their faith requires submission to their religious laws and practices. Their faith requires this of them, and of the people who are within their power to control.
And for some of them, submission looks like strapping on an explosive vest, taking your daughters by the hand, and walking into the lobby of a church on Sunday morning. For some of them, submission looks like pushing the detonator and commending their souls to Allah.
We should all remember that, and beware when their envoys in our own lands make the claim that “Islam means peace.” It doesn’t mean that at all; Islam literally means submission. Submission can lead to peace. But only after the capacity to resist has been broken.