For students at one of Indonesia’s oldest Islamic boarding schools, the holy month of Ramadan doesn’t only mean fasting from dawn till dusk. It also means intensive study of the Koran.
The Lirboyo Islamic School, or ‘pesantren’, established in 1910 in East Java province, encourages its 21,000 students from around the world’s biggest Muslim-majority country to use the holy month to study religious knowledge and Islamic teachings rigorously.
Head of the boarding school, Ahmad Zulfa Sholeh, said his institution rejects radical teachings and focuses on interpreting the Koran to build “good character”. “We don’t agree with radical views because Muslims should not fight other religions. We should protect them,” he said.
Last month, a series of suicide attacks carried out by whole families, including young children, killed at least 30 people, shocking the largely moderate nation. They marked the worst militant attack since the Bali restaurant bombings in 2005 and happened just a two-hour drive from the school in the city of Surabaya. (Reuters)
Photography by Beawiharta/Reuters