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Religious leaders condemn attack

Suicide bomber kills himself, injures at least 20 Protestant worshippers after Sunday service

  • Konradus Epa, Jakarta
  • Indonesia
  • September 26, 2011
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Religious leaders have condemned a suicide bombing on a Protestant church in Solo, Central Java yesterday which killed one person and injured more than 20 others.

The bomber struck yesterday morning as the congregation was leaving the Gereja Bethel Injil Sepenuhnya church in Kepunton, Solo, after Sunday worship.

The bomber died, while the injured were taken to two nearby hospitals.

“We condemn the bombing. It’s a savage and immoral action,” Nurson Wahid, chairman of GP Ansor, the youth wing of the country’s largest Islamic group Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), said at a press conference at the group’s headquarters in Jakarta.

He called on the leaders of Nahdlatul Ulama, the Communion of Churches in Indonesia, and the Indonesian Bishops’ Conference to instruct all faithful to remain alert.

Representatives of the Communion of Churches in Indonesia (PGI) and the Indonesian Bishops’ Conference were also present at the conference.

“We deplore this attack on churchgoers. It is an insult to God,” said Father Antonius Benny Susetyo, Executive secretary of the bishops’ Commission for Ecumenical and Interreligious. He also called on people to “unite in the fight against terrorism.”

Reverend Jeiri Sumampaw of the PGI expressed shock at the bombing.

“Again and again churches are targets for violence,” he lamented.

He said the attack in Solo was surprising because local Protestant pastors had told him that relations between Christians and Muslim in the area were good.

Solo is the home town of Abu Bakar Bashir, thought to be the spiritual leader of the Islamist militant group Jemaah Islamiah.

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