MUHAMMADIYAH.OR.ID, YOGYAKARTA – Muhammadiyah educational institutions have molded Indonesian generations, regardless of their religious backgrounds, long before the independence of Indonesia.
One of the non-Muslims, who studied in a Muhammadiyah school, was Dr. Ponijan Liaw, a prominent Buddhist and Former President of the Buddhist Youth and an international mentor and motivator.
In a recently published video on the IMF Media YouTube channel on Tuesday (August 15), Ponijan discussed how his current accomplishments are rooted in his early experiences, notably attending Muhammadiyah Elementary School in Pon Village, Sei Bamban Subdistrict, Serdang Bedagai Regency.
“SD Muhammadiyah was the best school in Pon Village. Some non-Muslims studied there without discrimination and had caring teachers. We were raised within the Muhammadiyah community,” said Ponijan.
Ponijan continued his study at Muhammadiyah junior high school. He also kept maintaining good relationships with his teachers. Despite being a minority, he and his family found peace and security within the Muslim community, mainly due to Muhammadiyah’s influence.
“Buddhists were a minority at my Muhammadiyah schools. Although we were only 0.9 or 1 percent of the students, there was no discrimination. Indeed, when we had a subject of Islamic Studies, the schools allowed non-Muslim students to attend it or not,” told Ponijan.
The Muhammadiyah teachers, including teachers of Islamic Studies, never coerced students to convert to Islam.
According to Ponijan Liaw, many parents sent their children to Muhammadiyah schools due to the school quality. The schools encouraged students to dream high to pursue their education.
“My Muhammadiyah schools were the popular ones in that era, and until today I guess. It was 40 years ago,” said Ponijan.
Furthermore, Ponijan Law, a renowned motivator in Asia, attributes his success to his teacher Rahmat Riyanto from SMP Muhammadiyah Pon. Rahmat’s mentorship broadened Ponijan’s horizons and fueled his ambitions.