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Kindergarten dresses children as jihadis for parade in Indonesia

Friday, 24 August, 2018, 10:50
Kindergarten dresses children as jihadis for parade in Indonesia

A kindergarten in Indonesia has been criticised for dressing girls up in black, Isis-style costumes and replica rifles for an independence day parade, with organisers forced to apologise for the embarrassing gaffe.

Photos of the “cultural” parade held in the city of Probolinggo, east Java, on Saturday showed lines of young girls marching on the street wearing niqab-style black veils, carrying cardboard cutouts of guns.

The head of the TK Kartika kindergarten apologised “deeply” for the costumes, expressing regret over the decision and saying they were not trying to “instil violence” in the kindergarten children.

“We raised the theme of the struggle of the Prophet to increase faith and devotion to Allah,” said kindergarten head Hartatik, when asked to explain the controversial attire.

The kindergarten is on the site of an Indonesian military complex, and Saturday’s parade took place a day after independence day, which falls on 17 August, in the world’s largest Muslim-majority nation.

Asked to explain why the kindergarten had chosen the costumes, Hartatik admitted they had pooled props from previous years to save money.

“We used it to save funds,” Hartatik told BBC Indonesia. “[We] never thought about the impact. The important thing is to take part in the parade, that the children were happy, using the existing property.”