The head of the TK Kartika kindergarten in Probolinggo City, East Java, claims she had no intention of promoting radicalism after preschoolers were filmed marching in black veils and holding cut-out guns.
According to this report, Ms Hartatik said her kindergarten had chosen as their parade theme for Indonesia’s 73rd Independence Day “the struggle of the Prophet to increase faith and devotion to Allah”, and had used the same costumes their students wore in last year’s parade in order to save money.
After video of the parade went viral, she was forced to publicly apologise at a press conference. She said yesterday:
There was no motive behind it and we had no intention of ingraining violence in children’s minds. I never thought it would cause controversy. What matters was children were happy to participate and they liked using the props.
Ms Hartatik said she had also sought permission from the military command, which Lieutenant Colonel Depri Rio Saransi confirmed yesterday, saying he had agreed because he had thought it would:
Promote Islamic values. The idea was to show Islam’s struggle and not radicalism, but it caused controversies and people perceived it differently. As military commander who oversees the kindergarten in our compound, I apologised. This is unintentional.
Parade organiser Supaini said organisers hadn’t scrutinised the costumes and props.
The organisers failed to be more selective and strict. Therefore I apologise. We organised this event to promote Indonesian art and culture. So I am sorry about this incident.