Children Bombing Children—The Surabaya Church Bombings

23 05 2018

Church bombing family

The family that bombs together…

On May 13, 2018 a Muslim family of six took on three suicide bombing missions, attacking 3 churches in Surabaya, Indonesia. At least 18 people died, and dozens were injured.

A nine-year-old Muslim girl blew herself up in front of a church. An eleven-year-old Christian boy died.

Children raised to kill children. What has become of us?

That evening a bomb accidentally went off in a nearby apartment complex, killing a Muslim man, his wife and oldest child as they were preparing it for an attack. Their other kids happened to be playing outside and their lives were spared. Had the bomb been successfully armed, perhaps those children would have been carrying it to the next target.

The following day another local Muslim family of five suicide-bombed the police station. Their youngest, an eight-year-old girl, somehow survived the blast. I imagine she won’t make it back to her 2nd grade classroom in time to finish the semester with her friends. And if she does, how will they look at her now?

Indonesia is no stranger to terrorist attacks. However, this is the first time children have been sacrificed. These families are said to be inspired by ISIS.

I am not against Islam. I count several Muslims among my closest friends. Like Jesus, I try to be most critical about my own religion’s problems.

But I hope that my Muslim friends will agree with me, this is an example of religion at its ugliest.

David Garrison writes: “There is an evil in Islam, as with all religions, when it is used to control and manipulate its followers or incite them to violence against those who would exercise their freedom of conscience to embrace a different way. Islam today is perhaps the most intrusive and egregious world religion at squelching nonconformity of belief. We must remember, though, that Islam is probably no more controlling than was Roman Catholicism in the Middle Ages or, closer to home, Puritanism in the early years of Anglo-American history. One can only hope that Islam, too, will experience a reformation in its relationship to its adherents.” (From A Wind in the House of Islam p.233)

Historically, Christianity has done equally heinous and barbaric deeds. We have no right to condemn, for we need God’s mercy as much as modern-day Muslims do. Thankfully, the Bible and the Qur’an agree that Jesus is God’s mercy to us.

When we receive God’s mercy, we have mercy to give to others. These two are always connected. As Jesus said, “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.” (Matthew 5:7)

If we want God to show mercy to us on the Judgment Day, neither bombing our “enemies” nor condemning them will do. Receiving mercy requires two things—1) being merciful to others; and 2) receiving Jesus, God’s mercy to us.

I implore my Christian friends who are wounded and outraged at this tragedy, to pray as Jesus prayed, “Father forgive them, they don’t know what they’re doing.” (Luke 23:34)

I urge my Muslim friends to become activists within Islam to promote this saying of Muhammad from the Hadith:  “Those who are merciful will be shown mercy by the Most Merciful. Be merciful to those on the earth and the One in the heavens will have mercy upon you.”

When religious leaders kill their own family members who want to leave the faith; when minorities from other religions are beaten or killed if they refuse to convert or refuse to follow Sharia Law; when parents teach their children that God wants to kill the children of other religious faiths, O my dear Muslim brothers—as Garrison said, “There is an evil in Islam.” I pray that you will not stand idly by, but will passionately pursue a reformation of mercy.

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ISIS–Coming to a City Near You

23 01 2016

Jkt bombing   This week I finished the rewrites to my sequel to SOMEONE HAS TO DIE. In this new thriller, ISIS attacks Indonesia, and one of the heroes from the first novel, the ex-terrorist Abdullah, accepts the challenge to take down the ISIS cell—non-violently. The working title for this book is A WAY OUT OF HELL, and I hope to have it published by this summer. Watch this site!

My writing couldn’t have been more prescient. Last week a group claiming affiliation with ISIS launched an attack on central Jakarta, using guns, grenades and bombs, starting with a suicide bombing in a Starbucks and ending with a gun battle in the streets. At least seven were killed, including all five attackers.

This attack mirrors exactly the modus operandi I present in my book. In the Middle East, ISIS is focused on territory. To have a world-leader caliph, he must have territory to govern. But in Paris, Jakarta, and perhaps other cities around the world, ISIS-sympathetic groups can’t realistically be looking to take over territory—so what are they up to?

Such groups believe that producing chaos and fear can lead to destabilized governments, opening the door for dramatic governmental shifts that can be used to their advantage. Indonesia is a prime target for such an approach. For years there have been several organizations and even political parties promoting an Islamic government, though the general populace supports pluralism. But with a traditionally weak central government, were enough instability and fear to rock the country, people might turn to a strong leader from the Muslim radicals who could negotiate an end to the conflict by giving in to demands for a stricter application of Syariah Law (such as has already happened in the province of Aceh). This in turn could pave the way for the nation’s leaders to pledge allegiance to the caliph.

Stopping ISIS in the Middle East is extremely complicated; but stopping ISIS from destabilizing nations with strong pluralistic majorities is less complicated and very possible. As I mentioned in my last post, I disagree with the president of France’s “merciless” approach. If we put all suspected terrorists in jail, what happens? At least one report from Jakarta stated that all five attackers had spent time in jail. Prison is the #1 recruiting post for new radicals or “rededicated” radicals. And for each “martyr” killed in jihad, ten more are inspired to rise up in their place.

There is a better way, a non-violent way to stop the cycle of violence and death. Keep reading this blog and I’ll explain more in the weeks to come.

I welcome your comments on how to deal with ISIS as well. Let’s continually pray for peace.