10/22/2022 Indonesia (International Christian Concern) – Religious intolerance continues to tarnish Indonesia’s reputation as a harmonious society. The latest incident took place in a senior high school, where the school’s vice principal prevented a non-Muslim student from running for the student council.
In September, Edi Sarwono, the vice principal at the SMAN 52 Senior High School in North Jakarta, stopped a non-Muslim student from competing for the student council’s seat. Before the election, a panel of teachers interviewed five candidates, one of whom, known as PI, was not Muslim. As a result, the teacher had the student excluded from the race.
According to Asia News, footage from the interview shows Edi Sarwono, also a teacher at the school, objecting to PI’s nomination on religious grounds. When the story became public, lawmakers from the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) called for an investigation.
Edi was later dismissed by the North Jakarta Regional Education Subdepartment from his position as the vice principal, but he is still teaching at the school. The other teachers are also probed for possibly failing to defend the principles of pluralism in schools and equal opportunities for all students.
In Muslim-majority Indonesia, religious minorities often face discrimination and social pressure for being different. Human Rights Watch recently published a report on forced hijab rules for girls in Indonesian schools that raised concerns for the country’s tainted religious freedom.
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