Muslim conservatives boo 'jilboobs' in Indonesia
JAKARTA, Indonesia - In Muslim-majority but secular Indonesia, the government does not regulate clothing for Muslim women the same way Islamic countries do. You can find Muslim women either fully covered from head to toe, dressed in a revealing tank top and miniskirt, or somewhere in between.
But a trend combining the conservative and the revealing dubbed “jilboobs” has drawn the ire of conservatives and a fatwa, or religious edict, from the country’s highest authority on Islam.
Drawn from the words jilbab, or the Muslim headscarf in Indonesia, and, well, boobs, the word refers to a Muslim woman who wears a headscarf and a tight-fitting shirt or dress that emphasizes their assets.
While Muslim women in Indonesia have been dressing this way for years, a Facebook account called Jilboobs Community created in January 2014 put a spotlight on the trend, triggering heated discussions online and offline. The account, which a user named Michael Brain claims to have created to showcase the influence of Western culture on Indonesia’s morals, features 26 photos of women in the so-called jilboobs fashion.
A user named Mita Maharani Bahriah commented that the phenomenon showed moral decadence. "The jilbab is meant to cover, to wrap, to protect the body, not to expose it. What you are doing here is dressing but (looking) naked," she said.
Another user, Nadiya Ahyati, responded and encouraged people not to judge others by what they wear.
She quoted Mufti Ismail Musa Menk, an Islamic scholar, as saying: "When you see a female dressed in a manner that is unacceptable in Islam, do not for a moment think that she is lower than you spiritually. If you do that, you are lower than her ... She might have a heart that is tons better than yours. She might have one weakness that is outward, and you may have 50 weaknesses that are hidden.”
Indonesia has a young population, with around half below 30 years of age and 37% below 20 years old, according to 2010 figures. This young generation is growing up in an increasingly cosmopolitan Indonesia, where major international clothing companies like Zara, Forever21 and H&M are popular.
The issue went mainstream on Thursday, Aug. 7, when the Indonesian Council of Ulema (MUI), the country’s highest authority on Islam, waded into the issue and issued a fatwa against jilboobs.
"There is already a MUI fatwa on pornography. This means you cannot show the shape of your body, wearing a jilbab but with tight clothing. MUI strictly forbids it," MUI vice chairman Ma’ruf Amin said, as quoted by the Globe Journal.
A fatwa, however, is not legally binding. In Indonesia, only the province of Aceh imposes the Islamic Sharia law, and there women whose attire are deemed improper – like tight jeans – can be punished by up to 6 lashes if caught by the morality police.
But Hidayat Nur Wahid, a politician from biggest Islamic party, Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), said people should not react so negatively to the jilboobs phenomenon.
The fact that people, especially young teenagers, are willing to wear a hijab is a small step that should be appreciated, he said according to Detik.com, adding that it was understandable that they still want to look trendy.
“Wearing a jilbab in Indonesia is also a part of fashion,” Hidayat said. "However, they should have a commitment to fully cover the body, to gradually dress with the hijab better, as it is originally meant to be.” – Rappler.com