M Julnis Firmansyah, Jakarta – Ministry of Religion spokeswoman Anna Hasbie on Friday announced that the ministry is studying the controversy involving the Al Zaytun Islamic Boarding School, with the help of Islamic schools and organizations.
The school located in Indramayu is accused by many to be spreading heretical teachings which led to protests from the local community.
"If Al-Zaytun commits a serious violation, spreads religious views that are suspected of being heretical, then we can freeze the permits of the Islamic boarding school," said Anna in a statement on Friday, June 23.
The Religious Affairs Ministry acts as a regulator for Islamic education systems, which include pesantren (boarding schools), and permits are issued through the Islamic Education Directorate General.
"As a regulator, the Ministry of Religious Affairs has the administrative power to limit the movement of institutions that are suspected of committing serious legal violations," said Anna.
The Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) had long deemed the boarding school a controversial institution for decades back after it formed a research team to look into the boarding school for four months. According to the official MUI website, this team discovered the institution's controversy is closely related to its doctrinal teachings, institutional affiliation, and religious concepts.
The Al Zaytun boarding school recently came under the public spotlight after one of its leaders, Panji Gumilang, is believed to have spread a misguided view about Islamic teachings. In a number of his statements deemed controversial, some suggested mixing male and female congregations in one row, allowing adultery, and sins can be redeemed with money, and his plans to establish a Christian boarding school.