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Saudi Money – and Strict Brand of Islam – Flows into Indonesia

In high school, Mr Atep Arofiq was fascinated by Islamic studies, and with meager means for higher education, a free institution financed by Saudi Arabia in this bustling capital seemed like a natural choice. There was an added attraction: The best students could graduate to further study in Saudi Arabia, all expenses paid. Mr Arofiq, 25, entered the Educational Institution of Indonesia-Saudi Arabia, housed in a gleaming building on a main thoroughfare. He lasted in the austere environment for two years. ‘There were too many forbidden things,’ he said of the school where the Arabic language, taught by teachers from Saudi Arabia, is the focus of the curriculum. ‘You were not allowed to join any other student organisation. Jeans were out, and they preferred that you wear a beard and long Arabic clothes.’ Mr Arofiq did not feel at home at the Saudi-run school, where he said the strict Wahhabi form of Islam was the basis of the teaching. Full Story

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