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    » 03/07/2009, 00.00

    INDONESIA

    East Java, policewomen must wear Islamic veil

    Mathias Hariyadi

    The new chief of police has issued a "nonbinding" order for all women in uniform. Police officers are also asked to pray five times a day. The headquarters in Java has approved the norm, and says that the agents are "free" to decide whether to follow it.

    Jakarta (AsiaNews) - Police women must wear the veil; all police officers are obliged to pray five times a day, as required by the precepts of Islam. These are the directives promulgated by Brigadier General Anton Bachrul Alam, the new chief of police in the province of East Java, to "bring my subordinates to the right path of life."

    He clarifies that these guidelines are not a "order," but an "invitation" to practice a way of conduct appropriate for a good Muslim. And in less than three days, the provincial police have adopted the policy issued by their commander. "I think that it's a good idea to be practiced in my jurisdiction area,” says Umar Effendi, police chief in Sumenep. Juansih, a woman and the deputy chief of police in Bojonegoro, says that "this is not a compulsory order, but I have disseminated this new policy to my subordinates." In the Bojonegoro department, there are at least 130 female police officers. "We are happy to do so," say Mega and Eva, two policewomen. "By wearing our jilbab (headscarf), we feel stronger and not as easily plunged into committing sins."

    From police headquarters in Jakarta, they say that there is "no problem, if they want to wear or not to wear. As it is not an official order but only an advocacy from their superior, let them do what they want to wear."

    In Indonesia, the most populous Muslim country in the world, wearing the jilbab is obligatory only in the province of Aceh, the only one to have adopted sharia. In recent years, the question of the Islamic veil has led to a feud involving all of Indonesian society. Many fundamentalist Islamic groups have asked for the imposition of Islamic law in the entire country, but they have run into opposition from the authorities, who are afraid that "national unity" could be threatened. In recent months, fundamentalists have launched campaigns of "moralization" aimed against yoga, the Rotary and Lions clubs, smoking, and abstention from voting.

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    See also

    21/10/2008 KUWAIT
    Two female Kuwaiti ministers risk "dismissal" for not wearing the veil
    A parliamentary committee has decided that their attire, without the hijab, violates the constitution and the electoral law. The matter will now be submitted to a vote in parliament.

    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.

    06/11/2008 INDONESIA
    Execution of Bali bombers tomorrow. Island on high alert
    The authors of the massacre in 2002 will be killed by firing squad tomorrow at dawn. Indonesian security forces are afraid of terrorist attacks and violent demonstrations, even following the execution of the three Islamic militants. Extraordinary security measures to protect possible targets of attacks in the country.

    10/03/2009 INDONESIA
    Guantanamo detainee Hambali is the mastermind of the Bali massacre and the attack against Christians
    He is being accused by two former militants of Jemaah Islamiah, sentenced to life in prison for their involvement in attacks on churches in 2000. The country is facing the problem of where he should be sent: his return home would strengthen the fundamentalist wing of the country, which considers him a "hero" because of his years in Guantanamo.

    07/01/2009 INDONESIA
    Indonesian president: "War in Holy Land does not have religious roots"
    Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono speaks for the first time about the conflict between Israel and Palestine. He explains that this is the result of "political problems," over the "control of the territories," and excludes motivations of a confessional character. The government has provided for the sending of humanitarian aid; Islamic extremist fringe groups are recruiting "volunteers for jihad."



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