On January 14th, 2016, a terror attack took place in Jakarta, the capital city of Indonesia. The terrorists attacked with suicide bombs in front of Starbucks located in Central Jakarta. After attacking with the suicide bombs, they attacked the civilians again; this time, they used guns and grenades. These attacks killed two civilians and left many wounded. Later, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) claimed responsibility for this attack.
Caroline Lee, a former student of the Jakarta International School, told JSR, “My friends back in Indonesia are terrified after the incident. Indonesia’s population is majorly composed of Muslims, so they are surprised that ISIS conducted an attack in Indonesia. After the attack, they told me that they don’t feel comfortable walking down the roads alone and are afraid to go to public places.”
There have been several terror attacks in Indonesia related to Islamic extremists in the past. Moreover, this is not the first terror attack of ISIS. It has previously conducted terror attacks in major cities such as Paris and Istanbul. However, this attack differs from others since it is the very first time that ISIS has attacked a city in Asia.
Hearing about the consecutive ISIS attacks, Koreans have displayed sympathy towards the victims. Simultaneously, there is also a growing population in Korea who display coolness toward the Muslim population. Islam tends to be viewed negatively in South Korea. It isn’t difficult to spot a comment expressing mistrust toward Muslims. South Koreans have poor understanding of Islam, since there aren’t many opportunities for them to encounter Islam in their lives.
This terror attack truly is a tragic incident that should never happen again. As displayed in our interview with Lee, it has left many terrified and even traumatized. However, at the same time, it is important for us to acknowledge that ISIS is just a group of extremists. Islam is one of the most widely spread religions in the world and there is no reason for us to discriminate against them based on the actions of a small group of extremists.