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    » 12/13/2007, 00.00

    INDONESIA

    Women soldiers wearing headscarves, Islamic fundamentalism’s next goal

    Benteng Reges

    Islamic parties call the proposal made by some Islamic media outlet a “great idea.” Fear prevails in the population which has so far seen the army as the guarantor of the state’s secular nature and a pillar of Indonesia’s multi-ethnic society.

    Jakarta (AsiaNews) – Women soldiers wearing headscarves could soon be commonplace in Indonesia, where a fierce debate is raging over the influence of Islamic parties on the social life the country. Especially there is concern over the rise of Islamic fundamentalism in the army, hitherto considered the guarantor of the state’s secular nature.

    Indonesia’s military have been seen by the population as the main bastion of the country’s political institutions, free from all sectarian tendencies and the pillar of its multi-ethnic nature.

    However, the findings of a report released in 1995 indicated that some generals where “ideologically close” to some Islamic fundamentalist groups. Ever since the issue of the islamisation of the armed forces has remained at the top of the public agenda.

    The idea proposed by some Islamic media outlets to allow women soldiers to wear the Jilbab, a headscarf, has found unconditional support among some politicians. According to Hidayat Nurwahid, speaker of the People's Consultative Assembly, “if wearing the jilbab does not interfere in one’s military work, it should not be banned. Moreover, the law says nothing on the matter; therefore, it is an open field.”

    Ali Mochtar Ngabalin, a lawmaker for the Moon and Star Party, is even more explicit about it; for him “it’s a great idea.”

    Military leaders have not yet expressed themselves on the matter. According to army spokesman General Ricardo Siagian, “the issue still remains to be discussed and will be serious deliberated on before any decision is made.”

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    See also

    08/10/2004 INDONESIA
    Christians and Muslims afraid that Sharia Law might be imposed

    Religious minorities are concerned about the election of Muslim fundamentalist Hidayat Nurwahid to the presidency of the People's Consultative Assembly.



    22/01/2004 indonesia
    Islamic Veil: Muslims and Christians in favor of the French prohibition


    24/04/2008 INDONESIA
    In Padang, Islamic law is now imposed on all
    The controversial local laws inspired by sharia are now being applied to non-Muslim citizens. Female students who do not wear the headscarf are suspended, and few have the courage to rebel, because of fear of reprisals from fundamentalists.

    31/08/2006 BANGLADESH
    Islamic parties "booming" in Bangladesh
    The country's intelligence services and Election Commission have noted a significant increase in the number of Islamic parties and organisations over the past 27 years. Some analysts warn that the country might be entering a phase leading to the election of an Islamic government.

    24/10/2008 TURKEY
    European-style reforms save Erdogan from constitutional court ban
    In rejecting the request to dissolve the governing party and exclude its leaders from political life, the court had affirmed in July that the AKP is "the focal point of anti-secular activities," but will not be dissolved because it is promoting the reforms requested by the EU, and those in favor of women and non-Islamic minorities.



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