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Gov't takes over Panji Gumilang's Islamic schools

Jakarta Globe - August 5, 2023

BeritaSatu, Tangerang – The government is assuming management responsibility for all schools under the Al Zaytun foundation after its founder and leader, Panji Gumilang, was named a blasphemy suspect.

Religious Affairs Minister Yaqut Cholil Qoumas said on Saturday that the takeover primarily pertains to the education system and does not include the foundation's assets.

The Islamic boarding schools in Indramayu, West Java, are alleged to have taught students against fundamental Islamic teachings, resulting in Panji's arrest.

Yaqut said that this decision was made following a coordination meeting with the Home Affairs Ministry, the Justice Ministry, Coordinating Ministry for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs, and the National Police.

"The management issue concerning Al Zaytun is divided into several categories. The Religious Affairs Ministry will handle the education system in Al Zaytun's pre-school, elementary school, high school, and university," Yaqut informed reporters in Tangerang, Banten.

He mentioned that his ministry will conduct an assessment of all Al Zaytun teachers to determine if they can continue their roles or if replacements are necessary.

The government will also provide guidance during learning activities at Al Zaytun. Yaqut added that the government cannot seize Al Zaytun's assets as they do not belong to the state.

Earlier this week, Panji, 77, was named a blasphemy suspect and promptly arrested by the police.

The police have brought several charges against the elderly cleric, including violating the electronic transaction and information law.

The senior cleric had previously been associated with a movement to establish an Islamic state in Indonesia.

Legal authorities allege that he possesses hundreds of bank accounts under various aliases.

The ongoing investigation revolves around accusations that Al Zaytun allows men and women to pray together in the same row during Eid al-Fitr and permits a woman to serve as an Imam during congregational prayers.

Panji has also reportedly made a controversial statement claiming that the Quran was "invented by Prophet Mohammad."

Source: https://jakartaglobe.id/news/govt-takes-over-panji-gumilangs-islamic-school