Indonesia bans mandatory Islamic 'hijab' scarves for schoolgirls | Inquirer News
Close  

Indonesia bans mandatory Islamic ‘hijab’ scarves for schoolgirls

/ 06:32 PM February 05, 2021
Indonesia bans mandatory Islamic 'hijab' scarves for schoolgirls

Foreign visitors wear the hijab during a visit to Baiturrahman grand mosque in Banda Aceh on August 6, 2019. (Photo by CHAIDEER MAHYUDDIN / AFP FILE)

JAKARTA — Indonesia has banned schools from forcing girls to wear Islamic “hijab” headscarves after the case of a Christian pupil pressured to cover up sparked outrage in the world’s most populous Muslim nation.

The move was applauded Friday by rights activists, who say non-Muslim girls have been forced for years to wear a hijab in conservative parts of the country.

ADVERTISEMENT

State schools across the Southeast Asian archipelago of nearly 270 million will face sanctions if they fail to comply with the edict from education minister Nadiem Makarim.

On Wednesday, he said religious attire was an individual choice and said schools “cannot make it compulsory.”

FEATURED STORIES

Schools that violate the rules could see their government funding cut, he added.

“The decree is a positive step to protect women’s rights in Indonesia,” said Andreas Harsono, senior researcher at Human Rights Watch in Jakarta.

He said public schools had forced millions of girls and women teachers to wear a hijab, prompting “bullying, intimidation, social pressures — and in some cases, expulsion and forced resignation” if they didn’t.

There have been concerns about growing religious intolerance in a nation where nearly 90 percent of the population follows Islam.

The headscarf issue grabbed headlines after a Christian student in West Sumatra’s Padang City was pressured to wear a hijab.

She refused, and her parents later secretly recorded a meeting with an official who insisted that school rules required all girls to wear a hijab, regardless of their religion.

The school later issued an apology after the video went viral.

ADVERTISEMENT

Religious affairs minister Yaqut Cholil Qoumas described the Sumatra case as the “tip of the iceberg.”

“Religion is not supposed to be a reason for conflict or a justification to act unfairly towards those with different beliefs,” he said.

The new regulations will not apply to conservative Aceh province, which follows religious law under a longstanding autonomy deal.

Read Next
Don't miss out on the latest news and information.

Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.

TAGS: Aceh, Christian, Culture, Education, Freedom, gender, Girl, headscarf, hijab, Indonesia, Islam, Religion, right, rights, School, Women
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.


© Copyright 1997-2021 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.