On Sunday morning, March 28th, bombs exploded outside a Roman Catholic cathedral celebrating the holy Palm Sunday, the first day of Easter Week, in Makassar, Indonesia. Church security stopped the two main suspects, a man and a woman on a motorcycle, from entering the cathedral as Mass came to a close because they looked suspicious and dangerous. The two then donated bombs that shattered the peaceful holy celebration, resulting in 20 worshippers wounded and the two bombers killed.
Although the event is still under investigation, the two perpetrators likely belong to the jad-racial group, Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD), affiliated with the Islamic State. This group also performed fatal suicide bombings on other Indonesian churches in 2018.
With over 230 million Muslims, Indonesia contains the largest Muslim population in the world. Due to its radical Muslim community, the country suffers from a grief-stricken history of Islamic terrorist attacks. Several attacks over the years include the 2002 Bali bombing, killing over 200 people, the 2002 Makassar bombing. More recently, the Islamic threats to Indonesia increased with four attacks in 2018, two in 2019, and another suicide bombing in November 2020. This continuous and disturbing trend in Indonesia instills fear and apprehension in many citizens and worshippers, especially the country’s Christian minority, to practice their religion peacefully.
The latest extremist raid in the multi faithful city of Makassar left dispersed body parts up to 200 meters away from the cathedral. It also blasted flame, smoke, and debris into the street. Luckily, the bombs detonated at the church’s side entrance instead of the main entrance which limited the casualties. The remaining palm fronds scattered on the church floor remind citizens of the extremist fueled violence on the peaceful religious celebration.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo said that he strongly condemned this act of terrorism and the country guarantees the safety of religious worshippers to practice and congregate without fear. He also said, “I have ordered the police chief to thoroughly investigate the perpetrators’ networks and tear down the networks to their roots.”
Hingham High students and staff were saddened by this event and the heartbreaking reality in Indonesia and the many other countries affected by terrorist organizations like ISIS. Social studies teacher Mr. George comments, “The tragic narrative of senseless violence seems to continue domestically and globally. As our society hopefully becomes more inclusive and tolerant, it would be welcoming to live in a world when one day – individuals and organizations wouldn’t feel the need to harm others and themselves to either make a point or feel like it’s the only way to advance their agenda. Through education, understanding, and respect, we all have a responsibility to encourage positive behaviors that will lead to a more peaceful world.”
Similarly, junior Delaney Coppola remarks, “I think it is very sad and disappointing to continue to see attacks on innocent people based on their religion in the news. I can’t imagine the devastation of the families and loved ones involved who were peacefully worshipping and celebrating when the bombs went off.”
In summary, Indonesia’s March 28th bombings devastated and injured many. The rest of the world feels empathetic for the tragedy and heartbreak, but also realizes that merciless terrorism does not discriminate. Thus, understanding and education are crucial to prevent future attacks.