The silhouette of the large mosque, brick-like but for a bulbous dome, looked blurry in the downpour. The rain of East Java is heavy, lending a sparkle to the green paddies and the scent of moist earth to the air. As the evening prayer ended, hundreds of boys rushed out of the building in waves, mats slung over their shoulders, sarongs hitched up to their knees, flip-flops squelching in the wet.
These students attend Pondok Modern Darussalam Gontor, one of Indonesia’s many Islamic boarding schools, or pesantren. (Estimates range from about 13,000 to 30,000.) Almost three-quarters of the schools, including Gontor, teach secular subjects like science and history in addition to classical Islamic texts and vocational courses in agriculture and mechanics.… Seguir leyendo »