Michael Carl is a veteran journalist with overseas military experience and experience as a political consultant. He also has two Master's Degrees, is a bi-vocational pastor and lives with his family in the Northeast United States.More ↓Less ↑
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.
“Case in point is the GKI Yasmin church of Jakarta, which has been forced out of its building and is being told to relocate by the city’s mayor even though Indonesia’s Supreme Court ruled back in January of 2011 that they could stay in their current location,” Morgan said.
Indonesia has seen its share of strife between its Christian minority and Muslims.