Jakarta Governor Basuki 'Ahok' Tjahaja Purnama has banned public schools across the capital from forcing their female students to wear Islamic headscarves—known as 'jilbab' or 'hijab.' (Antara Photo/Rahmat)

Ahok Tells Public Schools to Stop Making Headscarves Compulsory for Muslim Schoolgirls

BY :JAKARTA GLOBE

JUNE 06, 2016

Jakarta. Jakarta Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama has banned public schools across the capital from forcing their female students to wear Islamic headscarves.

Speaking in front of 1,700 principles from elementary to senior high schools across the city on Saturday (04/06), Ahok said it is not right to force public school students to wear headscarves—known as "jilbab" or "hijab", despite the fact that Muslims are the majority in most public schools in Indonesia—the country with the world's largest Muslim population.

Ahok said he issued the same ban during his time as head of the district of Belitung in the Bangka Belitung province in 2006. In Belitung, “93 percent of the students are Muslim. All of a sudden, teachers made it compulsory for all [female] students to wear headscarves,” he said as quoted by Kompas.com.

“You may believe that headscarves will lead to salvation. I encourage you if you want to teach your students how to read the Koran. I will support you [...] But you can't force female children to wear headscarves. I won't argue it theologically, but please don't force children like that.

“I don't want [children to treat headscarves] like napkins. The second a student leaves the school ground and hop on her dad's motorcycle she would take [the headscarf] off,” Ahok cited one example in Belitung.

“If you teach children that headscarves are part of the virtues of being a good Muslim, they will wear it. They will wear it with respect. Not wear it in school and take it off when they get home. Not wear [the headscarves] but behave in a way that disgraces their religion.”

Writing by Nivell Rayda

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