A policeman stands guard outside a Christian house of worship in Jakarta, Indonesia, on April 2 following a terror attack on a cathedral in Makassar five days earlier. (Photo: Eko Siswono Toyudho/Anadolu Agency/AFP)
Christians in Indonesia have increasingly become the target of terrorist attacks, with the latest plots being aimed at a Catholic archbishop and several churches in the Papua region.
Extremist groups, one after the other, are trying to send a message, particularly among Muslim communities, by attacking Christians.
Last month the Islamic State-linked Jemaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD) terror group plotted to kill Archbishop Petrus Canisius Mandagi, whom Pope Francis recently appointed to lead Merauke Archdiocese in Papua and who is scheduled to receive the pallium from the pope on June 22.
In a message sent early this month to Indonesian Bishops’ Conference chairman Cardinal Ignatius Suharyo of Jakarta, Archbishop Mandagi said a man came to his chancery twice pretending to be a visitor some time in January and on May 30 to die with him in a suicide attack. But it did not happen because the prelate was not there. The news shocked Christians.
Though police managed to arrest 11 suspected terrorists thought to be involved in the plots in the past two weeks, observers said those arrested were just a tiny number of JAD’s supporters, estimated at over 34,000.
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