President Halimah, PM Lee send condolences over Indonesia church bomb attacks, Muis condemns 'senseless violence'

Indonesian bomb squad officers inspecting the blast site in front of the church in Surabaya, East Java, Indonesia, on May 13, 2018. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

SINGAPORE - President Halimah Yacob and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong have written to Indonesia President Joko Widodo to offer their condolences over the bomb attacks at three churches in Surabaya on Sunday (May 13).

At least 12 people were killed and dozens injured in the suicide bombings, which were carried out by a single family of six.

In Madam Halimah's letter, dated Sunday and released by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Monday, she said that she was deeply saddened to learn of the attacks.

"On behalf of the people of Singapore, I convey our deepest condolences to the victims and their families," she wrote. "I wish those injured a speedy recovery."

Madam Halimah added that Singapore strongly condemns such wanton attacks, which have led to the tragic loss of innocent lives and resulted in injuries to civilians and the police.

She added that thoughts and prayers are with the people of Indonesia during this time of grief.

PM Lee wrote in his letter that he was shocked and saddened by the news of the attacks, which has claimed innocent lives and left many injured.

On behalf of the Singapore Government, he offered his deepest condolences to the bereaved families of the victims and wished the injured a swift recovery.

"Singapore strongly condemns such senseless and callous acts of violence against civilians at places of worship," he wrote.

He said that he is confident that the Indonesian government will be able to deal with the situation decisively, and Singapore stands ready to work with the country to bring those responsible for such reprehensible acts of violence to justice.

He added: "I am confident that the unity and resolve of the Indonesian people will not waver during this difficult time."

Meanwhile, the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis) said in a statement that it condemned the "heinous attacks" on the churches as well as Monday's attack on the Surabaya police headquarters.

"This senseless violence is against everything that Islam stands for, as a religion that calls for peace and harmonious relations between communities. Islam respects the sanctity of religion and human life, and calls for the protection of all worshippers and places of worship, always," it said.

Mufti Mohd Fatris Bakaram also expressed his deep sorrow that the bombings were carried out by entire families, including young children. He said they had been led by their parents whohad been completely misled by exclusivist and extremist ideology. "These supposed 'martyrdom attacks' run fully contrary to the teachings of Islam, which clearly forbid attacks on non-Muslim's places of worship," he said. "Such attacks are serioustransgressions of the principles and values taught by (Prophet Muhammad)."

Dr Fatris said that that Muslims in Singapore "treasure the harmonious inter-religious relationships that have been nurtured" in Singapore, adding that the ideology of hatred must never be allowed to creep in.

A family of five, including a child, on Monday blew themselves up at a checkpoint outside the Surabaya police headquarters, injuring 10 people.

An eight-year-old girl from the family survived the attack, while her mother, father and two brothers died in the blast, police said.

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