Monday, June 04, 2012

West Java City To Force Women To Wear Hijab (Islamic Veil)

Indonesia, a supposedly moderate Islamic region, is slowly turning conservative. The island of Aceh went south a long time ago, but other Indonesian islands are following suit. Tasikmalaya (a city in the southeastern area of West Java famous for its Islamic religious schools), will now start enforcing a dress code for women, both Muslim and non-Muslim alike, and this will also include any visitors to the city.

“We are finalizing a city regulation so that [the 2009 Ordinance on Islamic-based Values of Community Life] can come into effect as soon as possible,” Tasikmalaya City Secretary Tio Indra Setiadi told The Jakarta Post on Monday.

“Hopefully, it will be finalized this month so it can be immediately promulgated.”
He said the city administration might need to establish a sharia police force to ensure enforcement because the National Police were not able to handle sharia violations.

Tio said the enforcement of the ordinance would be different from that in Aceh because cases would still go to existing courts.

“Law enforcement here will be different from that in Aceh. For example, there will be no canning. This ordinance is aimed more at educating people to live in an Islamic way,” he said.
No beating up violators? How civilized.
The ordinance includes fifteen other official taboos including:
"... corruption, prostitution and adultery, homosexuality, gambling, drinking alcohol, drug abuse, witchcraft, pornography, usury, thuggery, propagating cults and abortion."
City Council members claim they were not pressured by Islamic groups to pass the law. They did so because 99 percent of Tasikmalaya is Muslim, and they could care less about the one percent who are not Muslim.

"Non-Muslims account for only one percent”. “According to the regional administration law, we have the authority to determine our own administrative visions,” Ruhimat said.

West Java is culturally rich- I wonder how this ruling will effect tourism? I know if I was forced to wear a veil as a tourist, I'd scratch that country off my travel bucket list.

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