Forgiveness is the call of the day from the family of John Allen Chau, the US missionary killed last week by a hostile tribe on India's North Sentinel Island. The BBC reports that the Chau family posted an Instagram photo Wednesday of their "beloved son, brother, uncle, and best friend," along with a caption that noted, "We forgive those reportedly responsible for his death." They also implored Indian authorities to release "friends" who were detained, including at least five fishermen who helped him access the island. "He ventured out on his own free will and his local contacts need not be persecuted for his own actions," they wrote. More on Chau's ill-fated visit to the Andaman Islands:
- Indeed, Chau, said to be 26 or 27, knew the risks, including that his trip to the protected island wasn't permitted—people aren't allowed to go within 5 nautical miles of it, per CNN. The founder of a Christian ministry Chau was involved with says Chau purposely didn't ask anyone to go with him, because he knew the dangers, while friend John Middleton Ramsey says the risks didn't seem to faze him: "He believed he was going to heaven, going to be with God if he died."
- It was that Christian faith that appears to have drawn him to the island in the first place, with the Guardian noting a letter he penned to his parents shortly before he died about his mission to convert the Sentinelese. "You guys might think I'm crazy in all this, but I think it's worth it to declare Jesus to these people," he wrote. "Please do not be angry at them or at God if I get killed. … This is not a pointless thing. The eternal lives of this tribe is at hand and I can't wait to see them around the throne of God worshipping in their own language."