While American's are busy celebrating Mother's Day, Christians in the Muslim-majority nation of Indonesia are being targeted by Islamic extremists. On Sunday, a family of suicide bombers attacked Christian houses of worship in Surabaya in East Java. According to police official Head General Tito Karnavian, the six suicide bombers included a husband and wife and their four children. Two of the children were two daughters aged nine and 12.

Early reports by the BBC claimed that ten people were killed in the bombings, but Indonesian officials have placed the death toll at seven.

A further 41 people, including civilians and police officers, have been admitted to nearby hospitals with minor to severe injuries. All six of the bombers died during the attack. They are believed to have been inspired by ISIS and were likely members of Ansharut Daulah, an Indonesian terrorist group affiliated with ISIS.

ISIS's Amaq News Agency claimed that a "martyrdom operation" (ISIS shorthand for suicide bombings) had been carried out in East Java. This attack comes on the same weekend as another ISIS-inspired terror attack that killed one in Paris. That attacker, Khamzat Asimov, has been identified as a French citizen born in Chechnya. The Muslim-majority province in Russia has produced its fair share of Islamic extremists, including the brothers who carried out the Boston Marathon bombing.

Growing fanaticism

For years, the Muslim countries of Southeast Asia have been upheld as examples of moderate or peaceful Islam. However, Malaysia and Indonesia have seen plenty of Islamist violence in the past, and Muslim-majority areas in southern Thailand and The Philippines are currently embroiled in deadly insurgencies that include ISIS-like organizations.

In the past few years, Indonesia has increasingly become a hotbed of radical Islamism. The Indonesian government reported last year that up to 500 of its citizens had journeyed to Syria in order to fight for ISIS. Closer to home, Indonesia has been rocked by several high-profile terror attacks, including the Bali Bombing of 2002 that killed hundreds of Australian and other Western tourists.

In April 2017, approximately 15,000 Islamist protesters packed the streets of Jakarta in order demand the resignation of Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, a Christian, for supposedly insulting the Koran. In the island province of Aceh, Sharia law has been adopted as the official civil and criminal code. Three months ago, a 22-year-old college student inspired by radical Islam desecrated a Catholic church in Yogyakarta and injured several parishioners.

The attacks

General Karnavian told the media today (May 13) that the suicide bombers had fought in Syria and had recently returned to Indonesia. Furthermore, their attack was a somewhat complex one, with the father detonating a car bomb. The family's two teenaged sons then used a motorcycle to carry out their attack, while the mother and her two daughters used backpacks and bags to conceal their bombs.

The first suicide attack targeted the Santa Maria Roman Catholic Church, while the second attack hit the Christian Church of Diponegoro. The third and final attack killed two at the Pantekosta Church.