Religious Affairs Minister Suryadharma Ali has called on Indonesian Muslims to refrain from being provoked by Friday’s terrorist attack.
“To all Muslim followers, please do not be provoked by this inhumane action,” Suryadharma said of the bombing during Friday prayers in a mosque in a police compound in West Java. “Let’s just keep living peacefully and let the police resolve the matter.”
Suryadharma, also chairman of the United Development Party (PPP), said the party hoped the identify of those involved in the attack at the Cirebon Police headquarters and the motives behind it would be revealed as quickly as possible.
National Police Chief Gen. Timur Pradopo and a number of senior antiterror police officers are now flying to Cirebon in the aftermath of the bombing, which wounded almost 30 people, including a number of police officers, and claimed the life of the alleged suicide bomber.
Defense Ministry secretary general Eris Herryanto, meanwhile, urged National Police to immediately file a request allowing the Indonesian Military (TNI) to assist in the investigation.
“On several occasions we have announced that the military is available to help in such matters,” Eris said. “But as of yet, the police have never asked for the military’s assistance.”
Syafii Maarif, the former head of Muhammadiyah, Indonesia’s second largest Muslim organization, condemned the attack.
“In my opinion, only people who have lost their minds are able to carry out such evil attacks,” he said in a statement on behalf of the Maarif Institute for Culture and Humanity.
Fajar Riza Ul Haq, the executive director of the institute, said the attack highlighted weaknesses in the country’s fight against terrorism.
“The police haven’t even finished investigating the book-bomb attacks and now there has been a suicide attack in Cirebon,” he said. “There is something wrong with our terror prevention and security efforts.”
The attack is the most serious incident in a recent spate of attacks by Islamist militants. Indonesia has been the scene of some major attacks by militants linked to Al Qaeda over the past 10 years but there have been few big attacks recently.
Police have said that militants in Indonesia have recently changed tactics and were now going after government and law enforcement officials as well as Western targets.
“The police have been the most active in fighting terrorism and that is why they are furious with us,” National Police spokesman Boy Rafli Amar said.
The head of Indonesia’s National Counter-Terrorism Agency, Ansyaad Mbai, said in a recent interview that militants were using parcel bombs and targeting minorities to try to push an Islamist agenda and warned that more attacks were likely.
Militant attacks and incidents of religious intolerance have risen in recent months, with mobs lynching three followers of a minority Islamic sect and torching two churches on Java island.
Parcel bombs have been sent to people involved in promoting pluralism and counter-terrorism in Jakarta.
Jakarta Globe & Reuters