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20180516T1121 17263 CNS INDONESIA TERRORISM RELIGIOUS RESPONSE 800People attend a candlelight vigil May 15 in support of the victims and victims' families of the recent attacks at police stations and churches in Jakarta, Indonesia. Dozens of religious leaders, backed by former first lady Sinta Nuriyah Wahid, have launched a new anti-terrorism group. (CNS photo/Darren Whiteside, Reuters)JAKARTA, Indonesia (CNS) -- As another deadly attack by Islamic radicals rocked Indonesia May 16, dozens of religious leaders, backed by former first lady Sinta Nuriyah Wahid, launched a new anti-terrorism group.

Ucanews.com reported that the People's Movement for Counter-Terrorism has committed itself to fighting against terror attacks that have "destroyed the values of humanity, spread fear and ruined national unity," said Sinta, wife of former president Abdurrahman Wahid.

Speaking with ucanews.com, Jesuit Father Johannes Hariyanto, general secretary of the Indonesian Conference on Religion and Peace and a member of the new group, said any terrorist act cannot be justified.

"We cannot impose something on others by threatening and forcing them to follow what we believe. This is completely wrong," he said.

During the launch of the group on May 15 in Jakarta, Sinta said: "A series of terror attacks is beyond the limits of humanity. At least 31 people consisting of children, civilians and policemen were killed (in Surabaya). Worse, the perpetrators sacrificed children in the terror attacks."

The group's launch was followed by a prayer for the bombing victims. It also issued a statement calling for national unity by strengthening bonds between people of different religious, ethnic and racial backgrounds.

On May 16, four men carrying sharp weapons attacked the police headquarters in Sumatra's Riau province. One policeman was killed and two others injured before the perpetrators were shot dead.

In proceeding days, two separate families of suicide bombers attacked churches and a police station in Surabaya. A few days earlier, terrorists sparked a prison riot that saw five policemen and a prisoner killed.

On the evening of May 15, about 100 people held a candlelight vigil at the National Monument in Jakarta.

"We aimed to show our solidarity with bomb victims and their families and to express our moral support for the police in their efforts to counter terrorism," Budi Arie Setiadi, a Muslim and youth group leader who organized the event, told ucanews.com.

In a prayer, a Muslim cleric, Taufik Damas, asked God "to protect our young generation from everything that can destroy their way of thinking" and "to protect our children and families from doctrines that can ruin our humanity."

Joannes Joko, a participant from St. Andrew Parish in Sukaraja, said the shocking nature of the bombings encouraged him to attend the prayer gathering.

"This is an effort to pressure the public into building solidarity. There must be immediate action from the government to cut the root causes of terrorism, one of which is intolerance," he said.

alertAt the Spring Assembly of the U.S. bishops, Cardinal Joseph Tobin suggested that a delegation ofbishops go to the border to see for themselves what was happening to newly arrived immigrants, families and children. On July 1 and 2, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the U.S. bishops conference, and five other bishops conducted a pastoral visit to the diocese of Brownsville, Texas. Stops included Mass at the Shrine of Our Lady of San Juan del Valle with the community, a visit to anHHS/OBR Shelter and Mass for the families there, a visit to the Customs and Border Patrol processing center in McAllen, TX, and a press conference at the end of their visit. Catholic News Service accompanied the bishops on their border trip. 

  1. Backgrounder and analysis of the bishops’ trip to the border: Cardinal DiNardo told CNS, “You cannot look at immigration as an abstraction when you meet” the people behind the issue.
  2. At final press conference, Cardinal Daniel Dinardo said the church was willing to be part of any conversation to find humane solutions because even a policy of detaining families together in facilities caused “concern.”
  3. Bishops serve soup to immigrant families at a center run by Catholic Charities and listen to their stories. Scranton Bishop Joseph Bambera said he found hope in hearing the people in the room talk about what’s ahead. They didn’t speak of making money but of finding safety for their children, he said, driven by “the most basic instinct to protect your family.”
  4. At an opening Mass he Basilica of Our Lady of San Juan del Valle-National Shrine near McAllen, Texas, Bishop Daniel Flores of Brownsville told Massgoers, “The bishops are visiting here so they can stop and look and talk to people and understand, especially the suffering of many who are amongst us,”

A delegation of U.S. bishops goes on a fact-finding mission at the U.S.-Mexican border to learn more about Central American immigration detention.

Following their visit to an immigrant detention center, U.S. bishops said they are even more determined to call on Congress for comprehensive immigration reform.