World News

Christian women forced to wear hijabs or resign from work in Indonesia

Twenty-four of the 34 provinces in Muslim-majority Indonesia impose repressive dress codes for women and girls, including Christians. Many who do not comply face consequences and bullying, according to women who spoke with an international human rights group.


“Nearly 150,000 schools in Indonesia’s 24 Muslim-majority provinces currently enforce mandatory jilbab (hijab) rules, based on both local and national regulations. In some conservative Muslim areas such as Aceh and West Sumatra, even non-Muslim girls have also been forced to wear the hijab,” reads a recent report from Human Rights Watch.

Millions of girls and women in the Southeast Asian archipelago have to wear hijabs, the female headdress covering hair, neck and chest. Hijabs are typically worn with a long skirt and a long sleeve shirt.

“The officials who issued the decrees contend the jilbab is mandatory for Muslim women to cover intimate parts of the body, which officials deem to include the hair, arms, and legs, but sometimes also the woman’s body shape,” the report says.

HRW interviewed more than 100 women who have experienced abuse and often long-term consequences for refusing to wear the hijab. The dress codes, inspired by Sharia law, have impacted not only schoolgirls but also teachers, doctors and other professionals.

Two of the women interviewed say they received death threats on social media.


Image: Unsplash

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