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Officials dismiss Indonesian principal behind jihad parade

August 23, 2018

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Education officials in Indonesia have dismissed a kindergarten principal after a video of veiled children carrying replica weapons in a street parade sparked an outcry in the world’s most populous Muslim-majority nation.

Indonesia in May suffered one of its worst attacks in years when militants used their children as suicide bombers in Surabaya and the images last Friday of children dressed head-to-toe in black carrying wooden guns in the East Java city of Probolinggo caused a sensation.

The head of Probolinggo’s Education, Youth and Sports office, Muhammad Maskur, said Thursday that the principal organized the Independence Day parade without coordinating with his office or the district military command where the kindergarten was located.

“We have made a firm decision, dismissal,” Maskur said. “This sanction was decided in the hope that similar incidents would not be repeated.”

He said the principal, Hartatik, who uses one name, was dismissed and is now an ordinary staff member in the education office.

The head of prevention at Indonesia’s Counter-Terrorism Agency had praised the public’s reaction to the incident but other officials, including the Education Minister, defended or played down the significance of the parade.

Police said they were looking for the person who posted the video online and could prosecute them.

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