Catholic Priest Stabbed by ISIS-supporter in Indonesia, Parishioners Come to Rescue – EpicPew

Catholic Priest Stabbed by ISIS-supporter in Indonesia, Parishioners Come to Rescue

On Sunday, August 28, 2016, a young jihadist would-be suicide bomber who appears to have been inspired by the Islamic State attempted to detonate an explosive device carried in his backpack during Sunday Mass at Saint Joseph Catholic Church, a parish in the Archdiocese of Medan, Indonesia. Medan is the capital city of the region of North Sumatra. When the attacker’s explosives failed to activate, he retrieved a large bladed weapon from his backpack, ran to the altar, and slashed at Fr. Albert Pandiangan, the 60-year-old priest who was celebrating Mass, striking him in the left arm but inflicting only a relatively slight wound.

At the time of the attack, hundreds of parishioners were present for Mass, but fortunately, everyone survived the incident. After the attacker rushed upon Fr. Pandiangan, members of the congregation swarmed upon him, forcefully removed the weapon from his grasp, and detained him while waiting for the police, who had been called. Police soon arrived at the church and handcuffed the assailant, after which a bomb disposal squad disposed of the explosives, with the Jakarta Post reporting that “By 10:20 a.m. the church had been evacuated and the police had secured the area. The police had also detonated the perpetrator’s belongings to defuse any possible remaining explosives.” Fr. Pandiangan was taken to a nearby hospital, and is fortunately expected to fully recover from his injury.

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Numerous police officers remained at the scene to provide extra security for the small church community. When police searched the attacker’s belongings, they discovered his identification card, indicating that his name is Ivan Armadi Hasugian. They also found a hand-produced depiction of the flag representing the Islamic State. According to Reuters, Medan Police spokeswoman Rina Sari Ginting affirmed that “A terrorism act was carried out on Sunday morning at the Saint Joseph Catholic Church. Police are interrogating the perpetrator… and will search his house for any bomb-making materials.”

By population, Indonesia is the world’s largest majority-Muslim country, with most citizens practicing a moderate form of Islam. This most recent assault comes following other terrorist incidents against religious minorities within Indonesia this year, including an attack by a suicide bomber in Jakarta in January and an attack by a suicide bomber in Central Java in July.

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