22 March 2018

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12/09/2016 INDONESIA

Muslim extremists slam Christian university for “false” advertising

A banner at Duta Wacana University, a Protestant institution, shows a female student wearing a hijab. According to Islamic radicals, a Muslim should not be shown in an ad for a Christian institution. However, for one Muslim student, “no political agenda should interfere with academic studies”.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) – Some civil society groups and Muslim intellectuals have taken on radical groups that have threatened a Christian university in Yogyakarta, Java province.

Some Islamic extremists raided the premises of the Duta Wacana University (UKDW), a Protestant institution, telling the academic authorities to withdraw a banner on display outside the building.

One showed a female student wearing a hijab (pictured).  According to the extremists, this advertising is misleading since most of the university's students are Christian.

The Muslim Community Forum (MUI) backed the protests, saying that it is wrong to show a Muslim in the advertising of a Christian institution.

UKDW Dean Henry Feriadi accepted the request but expressed concern over the manner of the protest. "We are concerned by these threats when Muslims tell us that they will be back in larger numbers and take justice into their own hands if we do not take down the banner."

This is the first time that such an incident happens in Yogyakarta. The UKDW was founded in 1962 as a divinity school for future Protestant clergymen. In 1985, the institution began offering courses in architecture, computer science, English, economics and medicine.

A Muslim student came to the defense of the university, slamming the threats from extremists. "Their demands are baseless. The university is a place for science, and no political agenda should interfere with academic studies,” she said.

“I am speaking out on behalf of UKDW students and professors,” she explained. “I am also a pesantren* student and during my five years at UKDW I found that the atmosphere of studying was very Islamic.

“Students are taught to behave in an honest manner and we are allowed to pray on campus. The intolerant actions of some should be met by a firm response from the authorities."

The aforementioned episode of intolerance against the Protestant community is the second of its kind in the past few days. On Wednesday, a group of Islamic thugs violently disrupted a meeting organised to prepare Christmas in Bandung (West Java).

* Islamic boarding school.

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