East Java: six Catholic schools could be shut down for not teaching Islam
ICC Note: Six Catholic schools are being threatened with forced closure by Indonesian authorities if they do not immediately begin offering courses on Islam and the Quran to Muslim students attending their schools. It is an unprecedented move by the local government, which in the past has allowed Christian schools to teach courses on Christianity while the few Muslim students who do attend the school are able to take classes on Islam outside regular school hours. The move comes as Islamic radicalism among ordinary Indonesian’s continues to rise and Christians face ever greater amounts of discrimination.
By Mathias Hariyadi
01/16/2013 Indonesia (AN) - Municipal authorities in Blitar, a town in East Java province, are threatening to shut down six Catholic schools "by 19 January" if the latter do not provide Islamic courses and readings of the Qur'an to their Muslim students, in accordance with regional bylaw n. 8 of 2012, which requires all Muslim students to receive Islamic courses in school. The latter is based on a national law, the National Education Act n. 55 of 2007.
The schools received the municipal injunction in the final days of 2012, but their administrators have refused to comply with the directive by 19 January, this according to the head of the local department of the Religious Affairs Ministry.
So far, school administrators have not released any official statement on the matter because of the sensitive nature of the issue. Before expressing any opinion, they are set to take part in meetings with Catholic leaders.
Muslim students who attend these schools can for their part take courses on Islam sponsored by their respective Muslim group.