World Council of Churches (WCC) General Secretary, the Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, has condemned the suicide bombing attacks at three separate churches in Surabaya, East Java, Indonesia, last Sunday.
The East Java police revealed that separate explosions had taken place at Santa Maria Tak Bercela Catholic Church, Diponegoro Indonesian Christian Church and Surabaya Pentecostal Church in and around Surabaya. The death toll from the attacks has reportedly risen to 11 people, while at least 40 others have been injured.
Dr Tveit offered “heartfelt condolences to the people who lost family members and friends".
He added, “It is shocking that this attack was directed against people who were gathered for worship, and that this attack comes on the heels of ongoing violence and persecution. In the face of this brutality, the human family, all people of faith and of good will, must stand together to recommit to respecting and caring for one another, to protecting one another, and to preventing such violence."
The WCC has appealed to Joko Widodo, President of Indonesia, to religious leaders and to governments across the region “to act swiftly and boldly to safeguard the fundamental religious rights of worshippers of all faiths, to ensure security in the face of violence and to guarantee justice for all people," adding: "Places of worship representing many different faith traditions have been targets of violence by extremists.“
Dr Tveit said that “government action must be matched by solidarity among Christians, Muslims and people of all faiths as they interact at the local level and together denounce any violent attack.”
He called for prayers, urging the WCC fellowship and others across the world to remain steadfast in their quest for peace and justice for Christians and all who are persecuted.
“Through prayer, action and unity, we can bring a powerful force of love in the wake of terror and violence,” he said.
One of the attacked churches is a parish church of a WCC member church, Diponegoro Indonesian Christian Church. [WCC News]