As President Obama offered greetings from the White House to Muslims celebrating the feast that ends the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, the Catholic school he attended in Jakarta was hit with a terrorist attack.
Asia News said the attack Wednesday came amid an escalation of tensions on the eve of the Muslim feast of Eid al-Fitr.
Two Molotov cocktails were thrown inside the walls of the Saint Francis of Assisi Catholic School in South Jakarta by an assailant on a motorcycle, Asia News reported.
The attack on the school followed the double bombing of a Buddhist temple Sunday, which prompted a statement Tuesday from the Catholic Archbishop of Jakarta, Ignatius Suharyo, warning of further anti-Christian violence.
Suharyo appealed to Catholics in Jakarta to remain “vigilant.”
Asia News said the attacks are symptomatic of the high tensions that currently prevail in the country, which is increasingly threatened by Islamic extremism.
The school attack came the same day Obama, as a gesture to celebrate Eid al-Fitr, announced the U.S. would give an additional $195 million in humanitarian aid to displaced Syrians. He and first lady Michelle Obama on Wednesday offered “warmest greetings to Muslims celebrating” the 24-hour feast, which began that night. The Hill noted the statement capped a tense final week of Ramadan in the Middle East northern Africa in which the State Department closed 19 diplomatic posts in response to purported specific plans for a terrorist attack.
As WND reported, Obama was registered at the Catholic school in 1968 as an Indonesian citizen under the name Barry Soetoro. His religion was listed as Islam, the religion of his stepfather, Lolo Soetoro. Obama later was enrolled at a public school in the city, where he received instruction in Islam. In the 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns, questions were raised about Obama’s adherence to Islam and his citizenship, tying the citizenship issue to his constitutional eligibility.
He attended the Catholic school, which was around the corner from his house, for the first and second grades and part of the third grade.
The Washington Post reported in 2010 that the Catholic school, feeling slighted by the attention focused on the public school Obama briefly attended in Jakarta, Besuki Primary School, has marketed its ties to the president.
Along with letters to the White House, State Department and U.S. Embassy, the Assisi school erected a big board outside his first-grade classroom featuring some of the president’s quotes along with inspirational sayings of Saint Francis of Assisi.
A bronze statue of “Little Barry,” as Obama was known in Indonesia, was erected in a public park near the Besuki Primary School. It was removed only a few months later, however after more than 57,000 people joined a Facebook page calling for it to be replaced by a memorial to an Indonesian.