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Muslim Community Built a University for Christian Papuans


Muhammadiyah has always been welcoming the non-Muslims to study in their universities and schools. In Kupang, East Nusa Tenggara, Muslims are only 9% of the total population. However, it did not stop Muhammadiyah to establish a university there. The classy-looking Kupang Muhammadiyah University then gained many non-Muslim students.

In Ende, another city in East Nusa Tenggara, the majority of students at Ende Muhammadiyah High School are also non-Muslims. The school also provides teachers for Catholic religious subject. Similar events also happened in Serui Muhammadiyah Middle School (Papua) and Putussibau Muhammadiyah High School (West Kalimantan). Non-Muslims female students are not obliged to use hijab such as the usual happenings in the Islamic schools in general.

Muhammadiyah schools also exist across Papua. Muhammadiyah has four universities in Papua namely Sorong Muhammadiyah University, Sorong Muhammadiyah College of Teacher Training and Education, Manokwari Muhammadiyah High School, and Jayapura Muhammadiyah College of Communication. There are also kindergartens, schools, and orphanages scattered on West Papua. In the College of Communication graduation ceremony, the majority of the graduate students are coming from the local Christian students.

Frans Takanyuai, S.Th., and Kris Kobogo are two Christians teachers who are working in Yapen Muhammadiyah Junior High School. Takanyuai has been working as Christian Religion Teacher in the said junior high school since 2003. Kobogo is working as Physical and Health Education at Yapen Muhammadiyah Vocational School. According to Takanyuai, more than half of the 125 students in Yapen Muhammadiyah Junior High School are mostly Christians.

Kobogo expressed the same thing. Around 90% of hundreds of students in Yapen Muhammadiyah Vocational School are Christians. He was also very grateful to be given the opportunity to teach Yapen children by the Chairperson of the Muhammadiyah Regional Leadership of Yapen Islands, Mr. Adhan.

This story is a clear example of inter-religious and inter-ethnic peace in Indonesia, especially in Papua and East Nusa Tenggara. News about interfaith or ethnic divisions and hostilities is easily blown up by national and foreign media, but in reality, it rarely happens. The majority of Indonesia’s population always upholds the motto of Unity in Diversity.

Anonym. (October 11, 2018). Umat Nasrani Papua & NTT: Berkat Muhammadiyah Kami Bisa Sekolah. Retrieved from Sarapan Seru: https://sarapanseru .blogspot .com/2018/10/umat-nasrani-papua-ntt-berkat.html, 2018

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