Jakarta (ANTARA) - Vice President Ma'ruf Amin underscored the need for pesantren (Islamic boarding schools) to invest maximum efforts to protect their students (santris) from sexual violence.

The VP made the statement while attending the 2023 National Working Meeting of the Indonesian Pesantren Association (IPI) in Surabaya, East Java, on Friday.

"I would like to ask all pesantrens in Indonesia to continue ensuring the safety and security of their students, as they will be the next generation of the nation," he affirmed as cited from a press release received in Jakarta.

In his speech, he urged pesantrens to conduct strict monitoring measures for the sake of the safety and security of their students while expressing regret over the fact that some students had experienced sexual assault perpetrated by their teachers in pesantren.

"We need to be alert since we can now find sexual violence cases committed in pesantrens, thereby damaging the reputation of Islamic boarding schools," he emphasized.

Furthermore, he encouraged IPI, as the national forum for all pesantrens in Indonesia, to take on a more active role in monitoring any form of deviance that can occur in an Islamic boarding school.

"Therefore, I would like to urge IPI to pay close attention to this matter. We should not let any cases put a stain on the reputation of pesantren and drive people to consider the school as an unsafe place," he stressed.

Amin expressed hope that strict supervision will prevent recurrence of cases of sexual violence.

Meanwhile, Chairman of IPI Abdul Muhaimin noted that the association is working with a network comprising 33 regional councils and some 400 branch councils to realize its vision of strengthening the religion and nation.

Muhaimin is upbeat that the national meeting would encourage Indonesian pesantrens to serve as guides for their respective environments in facing the era of various forms of disruption, especially in the field of religious affairs, that can pose threats to the nation's unity.

At the meeting, VP Amin was accompanied by his aides from the Vice Presidential Secretariat.

In addition to the vice president and IPI chairman, the national meeting was attended by East Java Governor Khofifah Indar Parawansa, Surabaya Mayor Eri Cahyadi, East Java ulemas, and representatives from numerous pesantrens as well as East Java Regional Leadership Communication Forum.

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Translator: Rangga Pandu, Tegar Nurfitra
Editor: Azis Kurmala
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