JAKARTA – After an eight-year ban, Indonesian police has allowed hijab on duty, responding to the overwhelming requests from female officers and Islamic organizations to allow the Islamic veil for policewomen on duty.
“Starting tomorrow, women who wish to wear headscarves can do so while on duty,” the new national police chief, General Sutarman, was quoted by Antara news on Wednesday, November 20.
Indonesia’s National Police have released a new regulation that allows women to wear hijab.
The new decision reversed a 2005 ban of hijab in the police dress code.
The ban was part of orders for all police personnel to abide by wearing the official uniform.
Violation of the then ban put police member at the risk of dismissal.
Announcing the new regulation, Sutarman stated that wearing hijab is a human right, adding that all women were allowed to wear headscarves if they believed it was part of their religious obligation.
Some Female members of the corps in Aceh are allowed to wear hijab.
Last Friday, the new regulation came in force for the first time when policewomen at East Java’s Malag were allowed to don hijab after submitting dozens of requests.
Citing the absences of clear rules regulating the wearing of hijab by female officers, Malang Police chief Adj. Snr. Cmr. Adi Deriyan said that he allowed women to wear veil as most of them wear it after hours on a regular basis.
Islam sees hijab as an obligatory code of dress, not a religious symbol displaying one’s affiliations.
The Muslim headscarf has been in the spotlight since France banned the outfit in 2004.
Since then, several countries banned hijab.
Indonesia is the world’s most populous Muslim state with Muslims making up around 85 percent of its 237-million population.
The new regulation allowing hijab is expected to be welcomed by Islamic groups which protested the earlier ban.
“The prohibition has no merit,” said Tengku Zulkarnain, the vice secretary general of Indonesia Ulema Council (MUI), adding that traffic police officers should also be allowed to wear the headscarf.
Indonesian scholars and activists said wearing the hijab is a basic right of Muslim policewomen.
Previously 12 Islamic organizations united under the Foundation of Islamic Organization Brotherhood demanded the national police immediately issue a new regulation permitting policewomen to cover their heads while on duty.
Allowing hijeb, the new regulation hasn’t set a budget yet for purchasing headscarves.
“If a policewoman wants to cover her head, she can do so, but we do not have a special budget for the garment,” Sutarman told the Jakarta Globe.
“If they want to wear headscarves they have to buy them themselves.”
Zulkarnain has urged the police to assign budget for headscarves and offer designs for hijab uniform.
“There are many policewomen who would prefer wearing the hijab regularly, even when working,” Zulkarnain explained.