Indonesia reaffirms non-connection between extremist, Islamic boarding school

08:17, May 31, 2011      

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Indonesian Minister for Religion Surya Dharma Ali on Monday reaffirmed that there is no connection between extremist movement of Indonesia Islamic State (NII) with an Islamic boarding school named Al Zaytun in Indramayu region of West Java province, saying that the rumor could disgrace alumnus and students of the school.

"The Ministry for Religion did not find any connection between NII and Al Zaytun when I visited the Islamic boarding school few days ago," said Ali.

He said that many people have said that he was too rush in providing the judgment as he was only several hours in the boarding school.

"But, if there is a strong indication of the connection, law enforcers must have taken actions," said Ali.

And, he said, if the school apparently is involved with the movement, police must take actions.

"The Ministry for Religion has no authority to interrogate or to confront what I have asked," he said.

Ali stressed that he has posed "sharp questions" to the leader of Al Zaytun named Panji Gumilang.

"I asked him whether there is any connection between Al Zaytun with NII, whether Al Zaytun has the same way in collecting fund with NII and whether Panji Gumilang is the leader of the Ninth Area Commander of NII for Jakarta. Principally, he said no," he said.

According to Ali, he did not want to take the issue too long.

"If Al Zaytun is wrong, name its mistakes and we can fix them. If not, state that it is not wrong, so there is a certainty," he said.

He said that all parties must pay attention of 7,000 graduates of Al Zaytun and students.

"We don't want them to have blur future if they are called as radicalized cadres, including students there and also their parents," he said.

He said that when he met leaders of Indonesia's National Agency for Terrorism Prevention, it has emerged a discourse of "a cat that is regarded as a tiger" in the case.

The issue of NII has been becoming headlines as Indonesia was rocked by several small bombing cases in recent months.

Source: Xinhua
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