1 March, 2015 AsiaNews.it Twitter AsiaNews.it Facebook            

Help AsiaNews | About us | P.I.M.E. | | RssNewsletter | Mobile





mediazioni e arbitrati, risoluzione alternativa delle controversie e servizi di mediazione e arbitrato
e-mail this to a friend printable version


» 06/14/2013
INDONESIA
Central Java: fatwa against Catholic schools, "forbidden" to Muslims
by Mathias Hariyadi
In a "controversial" statement, the local Ulema Council in Tegal said that such schools are haram, "morally unsound." Politics and local authorities have fuelled the controversy for electoral advantage. However, the families of Muslim students have defended the schools, claiming the right to free choice in matters of education.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) - The powerful Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) has come out against Catholic schools in Tegal District, Central Java province, issuing a "controversial" a fatwa that has sparked reactions and protests.

For MUI leaders, such schools are "haram", "morally unsound" for young Muslim pupils despite the fact that they score high for the quality of the education they provide and have as a consequence attracted a large number of non-Christians.  

In so doing, they have opened up a new fault line after their recent attack against Miss World Contest; this in the world's most populous Muslim nation, where Catholics are a small but significant presence.

For the schools, the fatwa is a great blow, coming in the wake of attacks from Muslim extremists and local governments that included threats of closure that were however eventually dropped.

The Ulema Council has often intervened to enforce orthodox views about Muslim precepts, such as how to butcher animals or uphold Islamic mores. However, in this case the motivation behind MUI's stance is "political" in nature. It follows appeals by local authorities to force Catholic schools to teach the Muslim religion to its non-Christian pupils.

Harun Abdi Manaf, MUI leader in Tegal, said that the council went through "lengthy discussions" and that a "decision was taken in April" to issue "a fatwa destined for the parents" of Muslim pupils, telling them not to send their children to Catholic schools. He explicitly referred to Catholic schools in Tegal and Pemalang, which have been under the threat of closure because they opposed a government order that requires them to reach Islam.

In addition to Mgr Julianus Sunarko, bishop of Purwokerto, many Muslim families have come to the defence of the two schools, claiming their right to a quality education. In fact, many schools run by nuns, priests and lay Catholics offer such excellence in education that they are sought after by non-Christians.

However, government authorities have tried too often to exert some form of control (however small) over these schools. The demand to have Islam included in the curriculum has thus become a rallying point to gain Islamist political and electoral support.

Indeed, Indonesian authorities in recent years have repeatedly given in to MUI's pressures. For example in Aceh, a province run by Islamic radicals, women are not allowed to wear tight pants or skirts.

In March 2011, MUI also lashed out at the flag raising "because Mohammed never did it". Before that, it had launched anathemas against Facebook for its "amoral" nature, as well as yoga, smoking and voting rights, in particular for women.

 


e-mail this to a friend printable version

See also
06/16/2006 SOUTH KOREA
Christian groups claim right to manage their own schools
12/18/2013 INDONESIA
For Indonesian Ulema, Christmas and New Year are "haram" and should not be celebrated
by Mathias Hariyadi
02/08/2011 INDONESIA
Central Java: Thousands of Muslims attack three churches, an orphanage and a Christian centre
by Mathias Hariyadi
04/02/2011 INDONESIA
Indonesian Catholics raise money through Facebook to treat the poor
by Mathias Hariyadi
02/08/2010 INDONESIA
Bekasi, anti-Christian persecution continues. A Protestant church targeted
by Mathias Hariyadi

Editor's choices
EGYPT - ISLAM
What Tayeb and Sisi said is big step towards a revolution in Islam
by Samir Khalil SamirThe grand imam of Al-Azhar slammed literalist interpretations of the Qur'an and the Sunnah, as fundamentalists and Islamic terrorists do. He supports the urgent need for Islam's reform, especially in terms of teaching lay people and clerics. He also calls for an end to mutual excommunication (takfir) between Sunnis and Shias. Egyptian President al-Sisi chose to fight the Islamic state group after it beheaded 21 Coptic Christians, whom he called "Egyptian citizens" with full rights.
SAUDI ARABIA - ISLAM
For head of Al-Azhar, religious education reform is needed to stop Islamic extremismFor Ahmed al-Tayeb, it is urgent to come up with new educational programmes to avoid "corrupt interpretations" of the Qur'an and Sunnah. Islamic terrorism undermines the unity of the Muslim world. He blames Mideast tensions on a "new global colonialism allied to world Zionism". a speech by the Saudi king is read at the conference.
HONG KONG - CHINA - VATICAN
It looks like someone is trying to shout us down
by Card. Joseph Zen Ze-kiunThe widespread optimism concerning the dialogue between the Holy See and China is largely groundless. Some Chinese bishops unable to speak freely are asked "leading" questions. The key issues remain unresolved, namely episcopal appointments and the fate of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association. Benedict XVI's Letter to Chinese Catholics, also cited by Pope Francis, provides guidelines. No agreement is better than a bad agreement. What happened to Msgr. Cosma Shi Enxiang and Msgr. James Su Zhimin? Hong Kong's bishop emeritus, champion of religious freedom in China, delivers a vibrant reflection.

Dossier

by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
Copyright © 2003 AsiaNews C.F. 00889190153 All rights reserved. Content on this site is made available for personal, non-commercial use only. You may not reproduce, republish, sell or otherwise distribute the content or any modified or altered versions of it without the express written permission of the editor. Photos on AsiaNews.it are largely taken from the internet and thus considered to be in the public domain. Anyone contrary to their publication need only contact the editorial office which will immediately proceed to remove the photos.