Kindergarten cops: Children wearing black niqabs and carrying wooden GUNS parade in Indonesia as part of its independence day celebrations
- Kindergarten pupils dressed in black niqabs and carried fake guns in parade
- Parade held in East Java, Indonesia, to celebrate Indonesia’s independence
- School said they wanted to ‘teach students about the prophet’s faith and beliefs’
Indonesian children took part in a street parade wearing niqabs and carrying replica weapons.
A video of the event, showing children dressed head-to-toe in black, marching with wooden guns, was uploaded onto social media and sparked outrage as it went viral.
The group of about 15 kindergarten students were taking part in a parade for Indonesia’s independence day in Probolinggo, East Java. Authorities have tried to defend the parade.
Video footage shows some 15 kindergarten students dressed in black face veils and holding fake guns during a parade in Probolinggo, East Java
Indonesia’s education minister Muhajir Effendy told local media that the parade had been ‘misinterpreted’.
The Kartika kindergarten, which is located inside a military complex in Probolinggo, said the costumes were resurrected from storage to save parents the cost of buying new ones.
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It denied that the gun replicas and full-body veils promoted extremism.
‘I never meant to teach violence to my students,’ said school principal Suhartatik, who like many Indonesians goes by one name. ‘We only used the props that we already had to cut costs for parents. I deeply apologise.’
The costumes had been used in previous parades to teach students about the prophet Muhammad’s faith and beliefs, she added.
Indonesia’s education minister Muhajir Effendy told local media that the parade had been ‘misinterpreted’
But the principal’s explanation was met with derision on Indonesian social media.
‘Nobody carried assault rifles in the prophet’s time – is this teacher that clueless about history or was she just trying to dodge the blame?’ one user posted on Twitter.
Another tweeted: ‘Obviously the seeds of ISIS are being nurtured early on.’
Probolinggo police chief Alfian Nurrizal said they were investigating who uploaded the video.
He said it may have been edited to convey the wrong impression, and that the person behind it would be arrested.
The incident came as Indonesia looks to promote itself as host of the 18th Asian Games, the world’s biggest multi-sport tournament after the Olympics.
Indonesia has endured a spate of deadly militant violence in recent years.
The 17,000 island archipelago, which has the world’s biggest Muslim population, suffered its worst terror attack in a decade in May after ISIS-inspired Islamist militants attacked several churches.
The incident in Surabaya, Indonesia’s second-largest city, saw militants used their children as suicide bombers.
Indonesia’s deadliest terror attack was the 2002 Bali bombing which killed over 200 people.
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