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» 01/16/2013
INDONESIA
East Java: six Catholic schools could be shut down for not teaching Islam
by Mathias Hariyadi
The authorities threaten to close the schools by 19 January. Until now Christian schools have never been required to offer courses and seminars on the Qur'an. Given the sensitive nature of the matter, school administrators are not making any public statement.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) - 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 six Catholic schools at risk are the Diponegoro Catholic High School, the Catholic Vocational Training High School, Saint Mary KG, Saint Mary Elementary School, and Yos Sudarso Catholic Elementary and Yos Sudarso Catholic Junior High School.

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.

Sources within the schools note however that Muslim students and their families had accepted their teaching programmes "without complaining." No one has ever "objected on religious grounds".

In fact, it has been a long established practice that Indonesia's private Christian schools, including those run by the Catholic Church, are not required to offer courses on Islam or readings of the Qur'an as in public schools. Instead, they provide courses and seminars on Christianity and catechism.

Muslim students who attend these schools can for their part take courses on Islam sponsored by their respective Muslim group.


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See also
08/11/2006 INDONESIA
Last wish of Indonesian Catholic on death row
by Benteng Reges
03/12/2007 INDONESIA
Islamic schools: graduates return as teachers, capable of little else
03/13/2012 INDONESIA
Yasmin Church members stage peaceful protest in front of Yudhoyono's residence
by Mathias Hariyadi
08/09/2006 INDONESIA
Three Indonesian Catholics face firing squad on 12 August
by Benteng Reges
11/16/2005 INDONESIA
Execution of three Indonesian Catholics looms

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pp. 176
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