Jakarta governor bans wearing of headscarf in public schools

Karma Gurung

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Jakarta governor bans wearing of headscarf in public schools


'(The headscarf) that they wear looks like a napkin. I think the napkin in my kitchen is better'

JAKARTA, Indonesia – Jakarta’s governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, popularly known as Ahok, condemned public schools forcing students to wear a headscarf and called for a ban, right before the start of Ramadan.

In a conference attended by 1,700 heads of schools at Jakarta’s Education Department Building Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation, Ahok said, “(The headscarf) that they wear looks like a napkin. I think the napkin in my kitchen is better.”

“When they go out of the school gate, they remove their headscarves as soon as they jump on their father’s motorbike,” said Ahok as quoted by local media

“You taught them to think that wearing headscarf is a part of their morals as a Muslim, so they continue wearing it throughout their lives. They should wear it with their own conscience, not remove it as soon as they leave their schools,” added Ahok.

After making his statements, Ahok also said that he did not want to be mistaken as an anti-Islam supporter and cited his experience in Belitung as an example of how students were not using the head scarfs appropriately.

But Ahok’s statement were not met with a popular response.

For Fadia Adhari, who studied in an Islamic private school in Jakarta for 6 years, where she wore the headscarf to school along with her classmates, Ahok’s decision to ban the headscarf is off-putting.

“I don’t agree with Ahok’s wide regulations because it depends on the school itself– the schools need to be open to students following other religions and they shouldn’t force everyone to wear it but in the case of some schools it may be a necessity,” said Adhari, a student at the Airlangga University in Surabaya.

Ahok was elected governor in 2014, after his predecessor and now President Joko Widodo took a break from office to run for President.

A controversial figure in Indonesian politics, Ahok is Christian, ethnically Chinese and not associated with any political party. The latter characteristic makes him a popular politician among the youth and middle-class families who are fed up with corrupt politics.

Indonesia has the world’s largest Muslim population. Almost 90% of the country’s population follows Islam.

Should headscarves be allowed in public schools? Let us know what you think in the comments section below. – Rappler.com

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