A Muslim boarding school for transgender people was forced to close in IndonesiaBy Pictolic https://pictolic.com/article/a-muslim-boarding-school-for-transgender-people-was-forced-to-close-in-indonesia
Islamic radicals forced Indonesia's first transgender boarding school in Yogyakarta to close. Al-Fatah, the world's only closed Muslim educational institution for transgender students, has long been regarded as a kind of symbol of the traditions of Islamic tolerance widely practiced in this most populous Muslim country in the world. A few months ago, groups of radical Islamists belonging to the Islamic Jihad Front movement forced the school to close.
But despite the risk of retaliation, small groups of former students continue to secretly gather in the former school premises to pray and study together.
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"We want to prove that Islam accepts transgender people, that it blesses all of humanity," said Shinta Ratri, a former director of a boarding school.
The closure of the school, which has existed since 2008, was a vivid example of the wave of intolerance that swept Yogyakarta, long considered one of the most liberal cities in the country.
Recently, not only transgender people have been getting from radical Islamists: they forced the closure of a festival dedicated to women's rights, and now they are actively advocating the closure of Christian churches in the city and a significant reduction in the activity of the Christian community.
Local police are often accused of inaction during acts of violence and intolerance by radical Islamists. Sometimes the police even support the aggressive behavior of radicals by their actions.
"In recent years, intolerance has prevailed in Yogyakarta. Islamist groups are imposing their position on everyone more and more aggressively," Agnes Dui Rusdjiyati believes.
The Constitution of Indonesia grants official status to six different religions. Most of the population of this island state professes a moderate form of Islam, often influenced by local religious beliefs. The point of view that the state should live according to Sharia law is not very popular in society.
The Al-Fatah school was located in a converted house, the main room of which was turned into a prayer hall.
After the school closed in February 2016, three teachers continue to teach 12 of the former 42 students.
"For obvious reasons, it is difficult for transgender people to visit mosques for prayers. Therefore, when I came to work at the school, I told them that they also have the right to pray, because God also created them," says 32-year-old preacher Arif Nuh Safri.
When the radicals came to the school building, few people were ready to offer them any resistance. Only one of the locals said that if these people gather here to study the basics of Islam, it is much better than drinking alcohol. However, Abdurakhman, the leader of the radicals, was adamant. Calling the students and preachers of the school immoral, he and his associates kicked everyone out of the educational institution.
Keywords: Indonesia | Islam | Islamists | LGBT | Muslims | Education | Tolerance | Transgender | School | Boarding schoolPost News Article
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