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Filming Tolerant Islam  
Wednesday, 05 July, 2017 | 14:44 WIB
Filming Tolerant Islam  

TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - THE Sabilul Hasanah Islamic School in Banyuasin, South Sumatra, began their school holiday two weeks before the Idul Fitri. But some Ramadan activities were still held at the school, including discussions on Islam and iftar or breaking the fast together.

The pesantren (Islamic boarding school), located on the main street, has over 1,000 students, or santri. Muhammad Mudarris, who founded the school, said students come from various backgrounds and cultures. Some are South Sumatra natives, including students from the indigenous Komering tribe, while others come from Java, not to mention several Chinese-Indonesian students.

"All are Muslims, because the school is, after all, a pesantren. But our students come from diverse backgrounds," said Mudarris, who is also one of the advisors for the Muslim Chinese-Indonesian Association (PITI) in South Sumatra.

The school's diversity is why tolerance has become part of life at school, said Mudarris. At the pesantren, the virtues of tolerance are taught in relation to Islamic values. He encourages students to maintain harmony with everyone, including people who come from backgrounds and religions different to their own. 

"Even in the Qur'an, no one is coerced into adopting a certain religion. The holy book teaches us to be kind to one another," he said. 

THE school was established in 1995. Back then, the pesantren only offered primary-level education. In early 2000, the pesantren opened a Madrasah Tsanawiyah (middle school) and a Madrasah Aliyah (high school) to accommodate the growing number of students. 

Students learn extensively about Islam and its interpretations, said Mudarris. But the school also offers subjects in modern disciplines such as science and foreign languages, including English and Arabic. 

The Sabilul Hasanah pesantren's vision is to educate people to actively contribute to the country's advancement. Mudarris himself reminded students, before they left for the Ramadan holiday, to apply the values and knowledge learned at school in their respective communities. 

"I make sure the school will always support learning activities and the study of different interpretations of the Qur'an having to do with (a person's) relationship with the community." He added that students should never treat adherents of other faiths differently. "We have to set an example," said Mudarris. 

Because of this mindset, in 2013 the pesantren cooperated with the Search for Common Grounds (SFCG), a non-profit focused on peacebuilding. Muhammad Ubaidillah Luai, the school's manager, said the NGO assisted students in making documentaries to highlight tolerance, among others. 

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