Indonesian students fast, and study, during Ramadan

KEDIRI, Indonesia, June 12 (Reuters) - For students at one of Indonesia's oldest Islamic boarding schools, the holy month of Ramadan doesn't only mean fasting from dawn till dusk. It also means intensive study ofthe Koran.

The Lirboyo Islamic School, or 'pesantren', established in 1910 in East Java province, encourages its 21,000 students from around the world's biggest Muslim-majority country to use the holy month to study religious knowledge and Islamic teachings rigorously.

Head of the boarding school, Ahmad Zulfa Sholeh, said his institution rejects radical teachings and focuses on interpreting the Koran to build "good character".

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Indonesian students fast, and study, during Ramadan
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Indonesian students fast, and study, during Ramadan
Students sleep at a mosque during the holy month of Ramadan at Lirboyo Islamic boarding school in Kediri, Indonesia, May 16, 2018. REUTERS/Beawiharta SEARCH "BEAWIHARTA LIRBOYO" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY.
A student sits on the roof of a dormitory as he studies the Koran during the holy month of Ramadan at Lirboyo Islamic boarding school in Kediri, Indonesia, May 20, 2018. REUTERS/Beawiharta SEARCH "BEAWIHARTA LIRBOYO" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Students carry food they have cooked for iftar (breaking fast), during the holy month of Ramadan, at Lirboyo Islamic boarding school in Kediri, Indonesia, May 24, 2018. REUTERS/Beawiharta SEARCH "BEAWIHARTA LIRBOYO" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
A student learning Islamic scripture writes in Arabic during the holy month of Ramadan at Lirboyo Islamic boarding school in Kediri, Indonesia, May 20, 2018. REUTERS/Beawiharta SEARCH "BEAWIHARTA LIRBOYO" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
A student rides a bicycle inside the grounds of Lirboyo Islamic boarding school in Kediri, Indonesia, May 19, 2018. REUTERS/Beawiharta SEARCH "BEAWIHARTA LIRBOYO" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Students leave after attending an Islamic scriptures class during the holy month of Ramadan at Lirboyo Islamic boarding school in Kediri, Indonesia, May 20, 2018. REUTERS/Beawiharta SEARCH "BEAWIHARTA LIRBOYO" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Students leave their dormitories to attend mass during the holy month of Ramadan at Lirboyo Islamic boarding school in Kediri, Indonesia, May 19, 2018. REUTERS/Beawiharta SEARCH "BEAWIHARTA LIRBOYO" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
A student writes in Arabic as he learns Islamic scripture during the holy month of Ramadan inside his dormitory at Lirboyo Islamic boarding school in Kediri, Indonesia, May 18, 2018. REUTERS/Beawiharta SEARCH "BEAWIHARTA LIRBOYO" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Students perform ablutions before attending night prayers during the holy month of Ramadan at Lirboyo Islamic boarding school in Kediri, Indonesia, May 19, 2018. REUTERS/Beawiharta SEARCH "BEAWIHARTA LIRBOYO" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Students read Islamic scriptures at ancestral graves, during the holy month of Ramadan at Lirboyo Islamic boarding school in Kediri, Indonesia, May 18, 2018. REUTERS/Beawiharta SEARCH "BEAWIHARTA LIRBOYO" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Students break the fast during the holy month of Ramadan at Lirboyo Islamic boarding school in Kediri, Indonesia, May 24, 2018. REUTERS/Beawiharta SEARCH "BEAWIHARTA LIRBOYO" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
A student is seen through blinds at a dormitory in Lirboyo Islamic boarding school in Kediri, Indonesia, May 18, 2018. REUTERS/Beawiharta SEARCH "BEAWIHARTA LIRBOYO" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY.
Student's lockers are seen at Lirboyo Islamic boarding school in Kediri, Indonesia, May 18, 2018. REUTERS/Beawiharta SEARCH "BEAWIHARTA LIRBOYO" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Students read Islamic scriptures during the holy month of Ramadan at Lirboyo Islamic boarding school in Kediri, Indonesia, May 19, 2018. REUTERS/Beawiharta SEARCH "BEAWIHARTA LIRBOYO" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Students sleep on a dormitory floor at Lirboyo Islamic boarding school in Kediri, Indonesia, May 25, 2018. REUTERS/Beawiharta SEARCH "BEAWIHARTA LIRBOYO" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Students walk to attend mass during the holy month of Ramadan at Lirboyo Islamic boarding school in Kediri, Indonesia, May 24, 2018. REUTERS/Beawiharta SEARCH "BEAWIHARTA LIRBOYO" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
An artwork commemorating one hundred years of Lirboyo Islamic boarding school is displayed near a dormitory at the school in Kediri, Indonesia, May 25, 2018. REUTERS/Beawiharta SEARCH "BEAWIHARTA LIRBOYO" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Students sit outside as they learn Islamic scriptures in the evening during the holy month of Ramadan at Lirboyo Islamic boarding school in Kediri, Indonesia, May 24, 2018. REUTERS/Beawiharta SEARCH "BEAWIHARTA LIRBOYO" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
A student writes in Arabic as he studies Islamic scriptures during the holy month of Ramadan at Lirboyo Islamic boarding school in Kediri, Indonesia, May 17, 2018. REUTERS/Beawiharta SEARCH "BEAWIHARTA LIRBOYO" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Boxes of toiletries are stacked near a bathroom at Lirboyo Islamic boarding school in Kediri, Indonesia, May 17, 2018. REUTERS/Beawiharta SEARCH "BEAWIHARTA LIRBOYO" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
A student (top) sits on top of a dormitory as he learns Islamic scriptures during the holy month of Ramadan at Lirboyo Islamic boarding school in Kediri, Indonesia, May 20, 2018. REUTERS/Beawiharta SEARCH "BEAWIHARTA LIRBOYO" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
A student stands as goats walk past him during the holy month of Ramadan at Lirboyo Islamic boarding school in Kediri, Indonesia, May 24, 2018. REUTERS/Beawiharta SEARCH "BEAWIHARTA LIRBOYO" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
A student poses for a photograph as he looks out from a dormitory window at Lirboyo Islamic boarding school in Kediri, Indonesia, May 19, 2018. REUTERS/Beawiharta SEARCH "BEAWIHARTA LIRBOYO" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
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"We don't agree with radical views because Muslims should not fight other religions. We should protect them," he said.

Last month, a series of suicide attacks carried out by whole families, including young children, killed at least 30 people, shocking the largely moderate nation.

They marked the worst militant attack since the Bali restaurant bombings in 2005 and happened just a two-hour drive from the school in the city of Surabaya.

Students told Reuters the institution emphasises teachings of tolerance, respect for local customs, and peace.

The school is one of 28,000 Islamic boarding schools in Indonesia. Lirboyo is run by the country's largest moderate Islamic organisation Nahdlatul Ulama.

While lessons are taught in the local Javanese language, students also learn Arabic and how to interpret Islamic texts.

Students pay 35,000 rupiah ($2.51) to participate in the Koran study during Ramadan and are expected to cook their own meals and do their own laundry.

Ahmad Jauhari, a teenage student originally from West Kalimantan province, has been studying here fornine years and finds the intensive study "enjoyable and peaceful".

"For me, fasting is easy if it only includes not eating and not drinking. What's hard is not hanging out, playing with our phones, or being in a relationship," he explained.

(WRITING BY JESSICA DAMIANA AND KANUPRIYA KAPOOR)

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