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ICC Note:
This article is an update with more information on the threat of local Indonesian officials to close a large Christian school in Indonesia if the school continues to refuse to teach Islam. Despite the Indonesian government’s official stance of supporting religious tolerance and freedom, radical Muslim groups are often successful at forcing the closure of Christian churches around the country.
By Michael Carr
09/22/2012 Indonesia (WND)- Authorities are threatening to close a Christian school on the Muslim-majority Indonesian island of Java because of the school’s refusal to teach Islam, according to reports.
Asia News said officials in the Tegal District in central Java have told the administrators of St. Pius Catholic school that Islam must be taught to the Muslim students or the school will face closure.
“The situation is critical because the sisters of the St Pius Catholic Schools have received threats and warnings, including the threat of having their schools shut down if they do not comply with the requests,” the report said.
Ryan Morgan, Southeast Asia analyst for the Christian human rights group International Christian Concern, says religion is required in the island nation’s schools.
“Religious education is compulsory in Indonesian schools, but there isn’t a law actually saying that Islam must be the religion taught,” Morgan said.
“Typically the few Christian schools teach Christianity, so I don’t believe that the officials of this particular school district have any legal justification when they started threatening St. Pius Catholic School and demanding they teach Islam,” Morgan said.
However, Morgan said that the law hasn’t stopped local officials.
“Sadly, not having legal backing in Indonesia doesn’t always stop radical Islamic groups from getting their way,” Morgan said.
Morgan said the threats are local, but there’s no information on whether the case could be taken to the national government.
Officials at the Indonesian embassy in Washington did not respond to WND’s request for comment.
Morgan cites the recent church closure case to illustrate the point.

The actions came in response to Christians privately baptizing about a half-dozen Muslim converts to Christianity.
[Full Story]