Indonesian Government to Take Three Actions to Address Al Zaytun Islamic Boarding School

Indonesian Government to Take Three Actions to Address Al Zaytun Islamic Boarding School.lelemuku.com.jpg

JAKARTA, LELEMUKU.COM - The Indonesian Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs (Kemenko Polhukam), Mahfud MD, has emphasized that the government will take three steps to follow up on public reports regarding the controversy surrounding the Al Zaytun Islamic Boarding School. These measures include criminal proceedings, administrative arrangements, and maintaining a conducive security situation.

Regarding the criminal allegations, Mahfud stated that the reports targeting individuals would be pursued by the Indonesian National Police (Polri). However, Mahfud did not specify the specific criminal provisions that would be used to apprehend these individuals.

"The police will take action because, based on all the reports received, the alleged criminal offenses are already clear, and the elements have been identified. They just need to be clarified during the examination," explained Mahfud MD on Saturday (24/6/2023).

Regarding administrative sanctions, Mahfud explained that the government would reorganize the Islamic Education Foundation that manages the Al Zaytun Islamic Boarding School and its affiliated schools (madrasah). This administrative action will prioritize the protection of the students (santri). As for security and social order, Mahfud will delegate responsibility to the provincial government, Polri, and stakeholders in West Java.

"We entrust those in the field to coordinate with all relevant authorities, including the Governor of West Java, if necessary," added Mahfud.

Mahfud himself held a meeting with the Governor of West Java, the Ministry of Religious Affairs, Polri, and several related institutions in Jakarta on Saturday (24/6/2023) to discuss the Al Zaytun Islamic Boarding School. Governor Ridwan Kamil stated that he had reported the progress of the investigation team's findings regarding the controversy to Mahfud MD. According to Ridwan Kamil, the investigation involved interviews with representatives of Al Zaytun and data gathering on the issues raised in society.

"Recommendations have been provided, which will have legal, administrative, and social security implications in the Indramayu area, West Java," said Ridwan Kamil at the Kemenko Polhukam office in Jakarta on Saturday (24/6/2023).

The controversy surrounding religious practices at the Al Zaytun Islamic Boarding School has been a topic of discussion on social media in recent weeks. One particular issue that drew attention was mixing of male and female congregants during prayer.

The controversy escalated into opposing demonstrations by both sides in the vicinity of the Al Zaytun Islamic Boarding School. According to Antara News Agency, the Central Leadership Council of the Pancasila Defender Advocacy Forum reported the leader of the Al Zaytun Islamic Boarding School, Panji Gumilang, to the Central Criminal Investigation Department (Bareskrim Mabes Polri) on Friday (23/6). Panji was reported for alleged hate speech involving ethnicity, race, religion, intergroup relations (SARA), and blasphemy, as stipulated in Article 156a of the Criminal Code (KUHP).

Meanwhile, Halili Hasan, the Executive Director of Setara Institute, urged the government to conduct a comprehensive investigation into the Al Zaytun Islamic Boarding School controversy. According to him, the government's actions should be based on factual evidence and adhere to existing laws and regulations.

"A comprehensive investigation, rather than a reactive and populist one, is urgently needed. The Al Zaytun controversy has been going on for quite some time since the boarding school was established in 1994 on a vast land of around 1,200 hectares," said Halili in an interview with VOA on Sunday (25/6/2023).

Halili added that the government should not get too involved in the controversy surrounding the labeling of deviant views and religious teachings that are prevalent at the Al Zaytun Islamic Boarding School. He believes that such matters should be debated among religious leaders and institutions. He emphasized that the government must not place the law of the state below the views and fatwas of certain religious institutions.

"The Setara Institute reminds us that the Al Zaytun controversy also concerns the rights to education, as well as the rights to self-protection, integrity, and security of the citizens inside, especially the thousands of students and participants there," he added. (VOA/ Evu)

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