22 March 2018

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03/10/2018 INDONESIA – ISLAM

Islamic university in Yogyakarta bans full veil

The rector warns that radicalisation, as exemplified by the burqa, undermines learning. Islamist movements slam the ban. Infiltration of radical ideas in student organisations and their activities on Islamic campuses and schools is a danger. The Widodo government is trying to curb the influence of Islamists.

Yogyakarta (AsiaNews) – An Indonesian Islamic state university faced criticism from Muslim groups and activists on Wednesday after it banned female students from wearing full-face veils, citing fears over the spread of radical ideology on the campus.

The Sunan Kalijaga State Islamic University (UIN) in Yogyakarta City, Java island, said it had 41 students wearing the full veil (niqab, burqa). It plans to offer them counselling and ultimately ask them to take off the veil if they wanted to graduate.

University rector Yudian Wahyudi warned that radicalisation, as exemplified by the burqas, undermined learning. "Female students wearing the burqa, and radical groups, [. . .] are disturbing the teaching process," he explained.

"We are putting moderate Islam forward," he noted, adding that the policy was a "preventive action to save the students". Students would be allowed to continue using regular headscarves that do not cover the face, he said.

The Islamic Defenders Front, a conservative group that campaigns against activities it deems un-Islamic, in a statement said that such a policy "did not make sense" and was in conflict with the country's efforts to preserve diversity.

A women's rights activist also decried what she described as a limitation on the freedom of women to wear what they want. "Using full-face veils is a choice and we cannot interfere in their choice and their freedom," said activist Lathiefah Widuri Retyaningtyas.

The Ukhuwah Islamiyah Forum (FUI), along with the Yogyakarta Mosque Activists Forum and several other organisations, asked for a meeting with university administration.

They met university’s deputy rector Waryono and asked him that university not put restrictions on students wearing the niqab on campus.

Indonesia is home to the largest Muslim population in the world, most of whom practise a moderate form of Islam. However, recently, the country has seen the growth of conservative views.

Many see this trend as a threat to its long-standing reputation for religious tolerance and diversity, enshrined in the Constitution.

For their part, the authorities have repeatedly warned about the infiltration of radical Islamic ideas in student organisations and their activities on Islamic campuses and schools.

The government of President Joko Widodo has tried to contain the influence of Islamists. But a recent survey found that almost a fifth of Indonesian high school and university students support the establishment of a caliphate over the current secular government.

See also

08/02/2010 ISLAM - EUROPE
An anti-burqa law to renew Islam in Europe
Wearing the all-enveloping outer garment is not a religious requirement, but a cultural tradition from Saudi Arabia. It is the symbol of an attack by extremist Islam on Europe, and this has generated contempt for a certain retrograde form of Islam. A law is needed against wearing full-face veil in public spaces, but what is even more needed is a broad dialogue between East and West that would allow Islam to be modernised and integrated into European culture, and thus have an opportunity to contribute to world civilisation.

13/03/2018 10:02:00 INDONESIA - ISLAM
Yogyakarta, Islamic university withdraws the full veil ban

"Maintaining an academic climate conducive to equity". The rule was aimed at countering religious extremism. The provision had sparked heated debate. The niqabs are rare in the country and are often seen as an unwelcome Arab export.

22/04/2010 FRANCE – ISLAM
From Paris to Brussels, move to ban the burqa
Sarkozy wants to ban the full-face veil across France. A draft bill is set to reach the French parliament in mid-May. Belgium will soon vote to ban wearing the burqa and niqab in public. AsiaNews proposes again Father Samir’s thoughts on the matter.

14/12/2006 IRAN
Ahmadinejad tightens social control noose
By placing his men in top public administration and economy posts, the president is imposing lifestyles and restrictions on freedoms. In universities, “liberal” lecturers have been pensioned off. And then there are indirect methods, like fining taxi drivers if their clients are not “perfectly covered”, thus turning them into watchdogs too.

17/09/2007 INDONESIA
Catholic students forced to wear the Islamic veil
It is happening in schools in the North of Sumatra. A Christian family raises the alarm, their daughters “have no other choice” but to dress according to Islamic customs. This is imposed by some local norms inspired by Sharia, which should only effect Muslim citizens.

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