Catholic schools in Central Java threatened with closure for not teaching Islam
Jakarta - The demand to include Islamic teaching in Catholic schools is proving controversial again. A few months ago, the Education Department in Tegal District (Central Java) warned St Pius Catholic Schools to include Islamic courses for Muslim students.
Local authorities summoned Sister Madeleine, of the Daughters of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, to meet the district council to discuss the issue. The woman religious runs the Asti Dharma Foundation, which manages various St Pius schools, from primary to secondary as well as vocational training.
In yesterday's meeting with Tegal administration, the nun used all her eloquence and power of persuasion, backed by the moral and political support of Catholic lawyers and Fr Frans Widyanatardi Pr, who is in charge of Sacred Heart parish.
The row over Islamic education for Muslim students goes back a while, first raised by the Education Department and then the Religious Affairs Bureau, until local media, radio and TV, picked up the story and made it public.
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. (continue reading...)