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Islamic University Bans Full-Face Veils, Gets Criticism


Author(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Publication (Outlet/Website): Atheist Republic (News)

Publication Date (yyyy/mm/dd): n.d.

One Indonesian state Islamic University is facing some heat from Muslim activists and groups because it banned women from wearing the full-face veils based on the fear of radical Islamic ideology spreading on the campus of the post-secondary institution.

Indonesia has the largest Muslim population in the world with most of them practicing as ordinary or moderate followers of the faith. However, in the recent years, there has been an upsurge in the number of the more conservative and fundamentalist, sometimes called literalist, strains if Islam.

This has been seen as a threat to the “religious tolerance and diversity” of the country that has been a cherished value set for a long time. The State Islamic University or UIN in Yogyakarta City on Java Island said that 41 students would have to remove the full veil also known as the burqa if they want to graduate.

One group, the Islamic Defenders Front, is a conservative set of campaigners who look for activities that may be un-Islamic, so that they can then work against them. One women’s rights activist argued this is a restriction on the ability of women to wear what they want.

Lathiefah Widuri Retyaningtyas, the women’s rights activist, said, “Using full-face veils is a choice and we cannot interfere in their choice and their freedom… Female students wearing the burqa, and radical groups, they are disturbing the teaching process.”

Retyaningtyas argued women should be able to wear the headscarves that do not cover the face. One recent social survey found that 1/5th of the high school and university students would support a caliphate over a secular government including the one in place right now.

This data has been an alarming point for the authorities. The Indonesian government has been struggling to keep boundaries on the growing Islamic elements of its own society.


In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Based on a work at


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