Blitar religious affairs
office recommends shutting
recalcitrant Catholic schools

The local office of the Religious Affairs Ministry has recommended that the Blitar mayoral administration shut down six Catholic schools that are refusing to provide Islamic instruction for Muslim students in Blitar, East Java.

The head of the Religious Affairs Ministry's Blitar office, Imam Mukhlis, said on Thursday that his office urged the Blitar mayor to take legal action against the six schools managed by two Catholic foundations – the Yohanes Gabriel Foundation and the Joseph Foundation.

The Yohanes Gabriel Foundation manages an elementary school, two junior high schools, a vocational high school and a senior high school, while the Joseph Foundation manages Santa Maria kindergarten.

“We recommend such action because the foundations that manage the six schools keep refusing to comply with the regulation,” he said.

The managements of both foundations have previously stated their refusal to implement Blitar Mayoral Decree No. 8/2012 that stipulates the requirement for Muslim instruction.

The decree, according to the ministry’s local office, was based on Government Regulation No. 55/2007 on religious teaching, which is in turn based on Law No. 20/2003.

The schools had been given until Jan. 19 to provide Islamic classes or have their operational permits revoked. (cor)

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