Indonesia’s Religious Affairs Minister Fachrul Razi has suggested imposition of a ban on niqab (veil) in government offices.
During a discussion with Islamic religious leaders in Central Jakarta Wednesday, the minister said the government might impose a limited ban on niqab for security reasons.
“There may be further steps taken but we are not banning the niqab [outright], we are looking into banning [people wearing them from] entering government institutions, particularly in light of the attack on Wiranto a while back,” Razi was quoted as saying by the CNN Indonesia.
He was referring to the assassination attempt on former chief security minister earlier this month by two Islamic State-linked militants.
Justifying the proposal, the minister said niqab is often mistaken as a religious requirement when it’s a tradition passed down by certain Middle Eastern tribes.
“We want to convey that [niqab] is not a measure of one’s piety and devotion,” he was quoted further.
However, the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) has warned the government not to stir a controversy with the proposed ban. It said the Constitution of Indonesia protects citizens’ right to uphold their religious beliefs.