Indonesian Girl Ambassador Reflects on Surabaya Bombings

Indonesian Girl Ambassador Reflects on Surabaya Bombings

GNWP’s Girl Ambassador for Peace, Nur Aisyah Maullidah, from Lamongan reflects on the bombings in Surabaya, Indonesia.

 May 23, 2018 by Nur Aisyah Maullidah*

Firstly, I would like to start with the chronology of the recent terror acts in Indonesia.  The first attack was related to the error process of food checking at Common Headquarters (Mako) Brimob jail, Depok that led to the chaos followed by shootings and hostages leading to the deaths and injuries among both the authorities and the prisoners.  The dead prisoner is a terrorist prisoner.  On May 13, 2018, Sunday, precisely the day when the Christians hold worship, three churches at different locations became the scene of the explosions of suicide bombings in Surabaya, Indonesia.  The next day, Monday, a police station that became the entrance of the public service unit was bombed.  All of these explosions resulted in many deaths, injuries and trauma.

With the three-day series of terror acts, five explosion points and raids operation in various regions across Indonesia, it is clear that the terrorists are always ready to bomb at unpredictable locations and carry out attacks on central security post points like Riau.  The terrorists want the public to know that they are very strong and if any of their group members are hurt (like in the recent case, some of their leaders have been caught in arrest operations), the resulting damage will have widespread impact not only on victims or people around that area but in all Indonesia.  This is also evident since Indonesia is a venue for ASEANG GAMES in Jakarta and Palembang in few days.

All of this background information leads to the question: why did they bomb the churches? The only answer to this question is to create provocation among each religion and spread fear.  The dominant adherents of Islam are the majority, as much as 87.18% and Christians occupy the minority with the second rank.  However, this does not mean that the bombings in several churches in Surabaya are part of the Islamic teachings.  In fact, Islam is a religion that likes peace and tolerance as described in Surah Al-Hajj verse 40, which protects places of worship of any religion from violent and irresponsible acts.  Another surprising fact is that the perpetrators of five explosion points in Surabaya are family members consisting of father, mother and their children.  This shows that women and children are also directly involved in the process of doctrinization and even terrorist attacks like suicide bombing.

The human rights violations perpetrated against the community are much larger and have wide impacts in a short time, especially for the victims in this particular case.  The acts have clearly infringed the United Nations Security Council Resolutions (UNSCRs) 1325, 1820 and 2250, which outlines the protection of women and children, the provision of freedom and, the guarantee of life with a sense of security.  Further, the necessity that requires the participation of family members in the series of acts of terrorism in the form of wife and child also violates their right to freedom of choosing a normal life because if they do not participate in these acts, they are threatened to be killed.  Women and children should get special and primary protection during wars, according to the UNSCRs on Women, Peace and Security and Islamic teachings.

There is a lack of legislation, which gives the police greater authority to arrest and hold terrorist suspects in Indonesia.  The promulgation of effective legislation on terrorism is estimated to be in June. Despite this progress and daily surveillance and tracking, these kinds of action remains unavoidable, because reading a trace of a terrorist network is very difficult, and also because the best units of government have ceased to do their jobs to the fullest.

With what has happened lately, people should certainly be more careful in choosing the networks, which protects them instead of pushing them into radical actions.  Strengthening character and moral education in children from family, school and daily environments should be applied more despite formal education system.  Women should play a more active role, such as fortifying themselves with the knowledge of religion and nationalism so that they are able to play a role in protecting the family from the danger of radical ideology.


GNWP’s Girl Ambassadors for Peace has over 200 participants in the program, the program consists of 1) Literacy and numeracy; 2) Leadership; 3) Capacity-Building; 4) Use of Media and Theater for Peace; and, 5) Economic Empowerment. Currently, the program is operational in South-Kivu and North-Kivu, DRC, in South Sudan and Rhino Camp in West Nile, Uganda, in Lamongan and Poso, East Java, Indonesia, and starting soon in Cox’s Bazar and Chittagong, Bangladesh.


*Nur Aisyah Maullidah is a Girl Ambassador for Peace in Lamongan, Indonesia. For more information about the program please contact our GA4P Coordinator at: [email protected]