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“Officials Vow to Withdraw Permit for Christian School in Indonesia,” Morning Star News, October 12, 2023:
SURABAYA, Indonesia (Morning Star News) – Bowing to pressure from Islamic protestors, local officials in South Sulawesi Province, Indonesia have vowed to withdraw permission that had been granted to build a Christian school, sources said.
In the town of Parepare, the district representative council had granted permission for the construction of the school as the Gamaliel Christian School Foundation had completed all requirements, but the council promised to withdraw the permission after a demonstration on Friday (Oct. 6) that included a banned Islamic extremist group, according to legionnews.com.
Members of the Islamic Defenders Front (Front Pembela Islam, or FPI), banned since December 2020, participated in the march through the city along with hundreds of area residents, Muslim leaders and members of the Indonesian Association of Muslim Intellectuals (Ikatan Cendekiawan Muslim Indonesia, or ICMI) and the Soreang Society Alliance, arriving at the office of the district representative council, according to detik.com.
As a result of the protest, Parepare’s representative council promised to withdraw the permits to build the Christian school, saying it could potentially cause friction, according to legionnews.com. In Indonesia, such promises by officials to Islamic groups can be tantamount to an official decision, but the council has issued no letter of revocation of permission.
A video widely viewed online shows some participants unfurling banners that read, “Rejecting the Construction of the Gamaliel Soreang Christian School,” among others. Demonstrators shouted, “Refuse the permit, revoke the permit,” and some orators called on the government to do the same.
“We are the most tolerant people – Muslims need no education on tolerance,” said one orator. “We live in a neighborhood with non-Muslims and provide food to each other; we never disturb other’s worship, but it is intolerance if you build a Christian school in a majority Muslim community.”
At the Parepare city representative council office, the protestors were greeted by the chairman of the council, two deputies and a council member identified only as Kamaluddin.
“The residents refused because the majority of people there were Muslims, and they said the permission was not clear, according to the residents who held the demonstration,” Kamaludin said, according to detik.com. “We are trying to avoid any conflict in the community.”
Opposition began mounting when hundreds of residents on Sept. 30 gathered at the Al Amin Mosque, in Soreang Permai Estate, Parepare, and signed a statement opposing the construction of the school, according to znews.com.
The construction of the Gamaliel Christian School had been legally authorized, bnn.com reported….