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» 11/11/2013
INDONESIA
Indonesian ulema again demand Catholic schools teach Islam
by Mathias Hariyadi
In Klanten, Central Java, the MUI reignites the controversy over the fact that Islam is not taught in Catholic schools, a serious violation for the local head of the Islamist organisation. Last year, the same dispute broke out in Blitar and Tegal, subsiding eventually after Muslim parents defended the schools their children attended because of the quality of their teaching.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) - The Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) has once again stirred up controversy over the fact that Islam is not taught in the country's Catholic schools. The latest case involves a Catholic school of Klanten in Central Java. Last year, the same thing was front-page news for weeks in Blitar (East Java Regency) and Tegal until Muslim parents came out in defence of the Catholic schools where their children study, emphasising their high level of education.

Hartoyo, the MUI leader in Klanten, urged all private schools, including Catholic ones, to hire qualified staff to teach the Islamic religion to Muslim students. In his view, the absence of Islamic religious teachers is a grave violation of the law because every student should be able to receive lessons in his or her religion.

The local association of private schools (BMPS) agrees. Slamming the lack of Muslim teachers, it demanded that a solution be found and the problem solved "in the best possible way."

In reality, following a decades-old practice, Indonesia's private Christian schools, including Catholic ones, are not required to offer courses on Islamic religion or time off to read the Quran, as is the case in state schools. They do however provide seminars and lectures on the Christian religion and catechism.

Muslim students who go to Catholic schools take instead Islamic religious courses sponsored by their own Islamic community.

It should also be noted that school administrators go out of their way to reassure Muslim parents that Catholic schools do not try to "convert" students and that Christian proselytising is banned.

For decades, the issue was never a problem, until last year that is, when MUI leaders stirred up a storm by demanding Islam be taught, something extensively covered by local media. However, for most people, the whole thing is political and not spiritual in nature.

In recent years, Indonesian authorities have repeatedly caved in to MUI pressures, an association that purports to monitors behaviour and morals, a practice that is commonplace in Aceh, a province ruled by Islamic radicals, where women cannot wear tight pants or skirts.

In March 2011, the MUI lashed at flag raising "because Muhammad never did it". Before that, it attacked the popular social networking service Facebook for being "amoral" as well as yoga, smoking, and the right to vote, particularly for women.


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See also
04/27/2010 INDONESIA
Record failure rate in national high school exam, Catholic schools buck the trend
by Mathias Hariyadi
05/12/2005 PAKISTAN
Two nationalised schools handed back to the Catholic Church
by Qaiser Felix
01/16/2013 INDONESIA
East Java: six Catholic schools could be shut down for not teaching Islam
by Mathias Hariyadi
06/14/2013 INDONESIA
Central Java: fatwa against Catholic schools, "forbidden" to Muslims
by Mathias Hariyadi
11/20/2007 VATICAN
For the Church school is a privileged field for mission, to “teach” life projects

Editor's choices
ASIA
Vigil for persecuted Christians, our teachers in the mission in the West
by Bernardo CervelleraThe "wall of indifference and cynicism" and the silence and apathy so often denounced by Pope Francis have become almost a fortress. Such persecution reflects confessional manipulation, which slams Islam as such, and ideological manipulation, which forgets what is happening in North Korea or China. An increasingly post-Christian Europe seems disinterested in Christians.
RUSSIA – CHINA
Moscow Patriarchate: China authorises the ordination of Chinese Orthodox priests on its territory
by Marta AllevatoMetropolitan Hilarion, the Moscow Patriarchate’s ‘foreign minister’, made the announcement after a visit to China where he met the leaders of the State Administration for Religious Affairs. The first priest should serve in Harbin. Two more ordinations are expected. With a new Cold War as the background, the Moscow-Beijing strategic alliance also has a Church connection with the People's Republic recognising the latter’s 'political' role in Russia.
VATICAN
Pope: We and the four new saints, witnesses of the Resurrection "where forgetfulness of God and human disorientation are most evident "Francis proclaims four religious sisters saints: one French, one Italian, two Palestinians: Maria Alfonsina Danil Ghattas, the foundress of the Sisters of the Rosary, and the Carmelite Maria of Crucified Jesus (nee Maria Bawardy). Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian Authority present. "Abiding in Christ" and cultivating “unity among us" are essential signs of witness. Maria Bawardy, "instrument of encounter and communion with the Muslim world".

Dossier

by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
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