Indonesia university revokes niqab ban after criticism

A student wearing a niqab face veil stages a protest against the ban on wearing niqabs on university grounds at the Sunan Kalijaga State Islamic University in Yogyakarta. The university has reversed the policy after criticisms it trampled on personal choice. (AFP)
Updated 12 March 2018
0

Indonesia university revokes niqab ban after criticism

YOGYAKARTA, Indonesia: An Indonesian university whose ban on niqab face veils made global headlines has reversed the policy following criticism that it trampled on personal choice.
Sunan Kalijaga State Islamic University in Indonesia’s cultural capital Yogyakarta issued the edict last week to more than three dozen niqab-wearing students — and warned they could be expelled for non-compliance.
The school, which has about 10,000 students, had said the now-canceled rule was aimed at countering religious extremism in the world’s biggest Muslim majority country.
“The guidance concerning students using a face veil will be revoked in order to maintain an academic climate that is conducive to fairness,” said a statement issued by the university at the weekend.
Backers of the new rules said wearing the full veil with a small slit for the eyes was not a religious obligation, but critics saw the anti-niqab appeal as impinging on individual rights.
Another school in Yogyakarta, Ahmad Dahlan University, has also urged students not to wear the niqab — without penalty for non-compliance — while several Indonesian universities have issued niqab bans in the past.
Although niqabs are common in ultra-conservative Saudi Arabia and some other Gulf states, they’re rare in secular Indonesia, where around 90 percent of its 260 million people have traditionally followed a moderate form of Islam, and are often seen as an unwelcome Arab export.
Indonesia’s reputation as a bastion of progressiveness and religious tolerance has recently been tested by a government push to outlaw gay and pre-marital sex.
The conservative lurch comes as once-fringe Islamic political parties move into the mainstream.
The niqab has been at the center of a heated global debate over religious freedom and women’s rights, with France the first European country to ban it in public spaces.


Motion filed by top parliament official to impeach Somali president

Updated 31 min 33 sec ago
0

Motion filed by top parliament official to impeach Somali president

MOGADISHU: The top official of Somali's parliament administration said on Sunday he had filed a motion with the speaker of parliament to impeach the country's president, Mohamed Abdullahi.
"We have filed an impeachment against the president of the federal republic of Somalia," Abdikarim H. Abdi Buh said in a statement.
Constitutionally, 92 lawmakers have to sign such a motion for it to be submitted to the speaker. Parliament may debate the motion a week later.
Somalia's parliament has 275 lawmakers in total. A successful impeachment vote requires the backing of two thirds of all MPs.
A copy of the motion, seen by Reuters, lists as grounds for the impeachment an allegation that the president secretly signed agreements with other countries including Ethiopia and Eritrea.
The agreements touched on the use of Somali ports and economic and security cooperation, it said.
He was also accused of illegally extraditing alleged criminals to other countries and violating Somalia's federalism law and the rules and regulations of parliament.
Officials at the president's office could not be reached for comment.