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Jakarta Post

How related is the niqab to radicalism?

  • Azis Anwar Fachrudin
    Azis Anwar Fachrudin

    Holds an MA degree from the Center for Religious and Cross-Cultural Studies (CRCS) of Gadjah Mada University

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Yogyakarta   /   Fri, November 8, 2019   /  11:01 am
How related is the niqab to radicalism? Regardless of such interpretations, if the government wants to ban the niqab, where should we draw the line on religious freedom, especially for Muslim women who regard the niqab as a religious obligation? (Antara/Seno)

There is little difference between the recent plan by new Religious Affairs Minister Fachrul Razi to recommend banning the niqab (full-faced veil) in government offices and last year’s cancelled niqab ban for students of Sunan Kalijaga State Islamic University (UIN) in Yogyakarta. The minister’s explicit justification was one of security; the UIN rector cited the face as a primary identity marker. But implicitly, both had the same underlying assumption: The niqab or cadar signifies an embrace of radicalism. Although it’s ill-defined, the term radicalism here simply means the ideology that attempts to change the Indonesian republic into an Islamic state. However, there is only a thin connection between wearing the niqab and radicalism. While there is no denying that women who — or whose husbands — conducted terror attacks over the past few yea...

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official stance of The Jakarta Post.