Fri, 28 Mar 2003

MUI supports controversial bill

JAKARTA: A delegation from the Indonesian Council of Ulemas (MUI) and leaders of a few Muslim organizations went to the House of Representatives on Thursday to express their support for the controversial education bill.

"We hope the House will listen to our aspirations to avert large-scale demonstrations," MUI secretary general Din Syamsuddin stated shortly before a meeting with a group of House members.

Din is also vice chairman of Muhammadiyah, the country's second largest Muslim organization.

The House is currently deliberating on the bill on national education that requires all schools, including those run by religious groups, to provide religious teachers for students from other religions.

The stipulation has drawn strong opposition from experts who argued that the ruling was a form of government intervention in religious life.

The bill, if passed into law, is likely to affect Christian schools most, where almost half of the students are Muslims or adherents of other religions. --JP