When I went to visit Santa Maria Church almost three months to the day after the attacks, Father Aloysius Widyawan told me that "None of the victims ever asked 'why has this happened to me?' They just said 'okay, we forgive them, and we pray for the victims'”.
Christmas is one of the most dangerous times for Christians in many countries. It’s a time when church buildings are guaranteed to be full of people, making any attack even more devastating.
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In Egypt, churches are regularly targeted during Coptic Christmas celebrations. Congregations in Nigeria, Kenya and Tanzania often spend the Christmas season under the threat of attack from terrorist groups such as El Shabaab or Boko Haram.
We stand with the victims of these attacks through evidence gathering, analysis and raising awareness. We take stories such as the bombings in Surabaya and tell them all over the world. Since I returned from Indonesia, I’ve shared their plight through numerous articles and interviews with international media outlets, and have discussed their case in meetings with Parliamentarians and journalists. In addition, I’ve just published a new report on intolerance in Indonesia including the stories of the Surabaya churches. I’ll be using it to recommend that the Indonesian government take urgent steps to protect and promote the rule of law and rights of minorities.