The new policy by the Yogyakarta Islamic State University (UIN) banning students from wearing a niqab while studying on campus has attracted support and opposition from the public.
The policy has also been rejected by students who wear the niqab [a full Islamic veil which conceals the face but leaves the eyes exposed, called a cadar in Indonesian – JB].
One of the students at the UIN Sunan Kalijaga in the Central Java city of Yogyakarta who took part in a protest against the ban is Umi Kalsum.
“Please go ahead and record how many students wear a niqab, but banning it, well I don’t agree. We have rights don’t we”, said Umi in Yogyakarta on Monday March 5.
Umi believes that the UIN policy of recording students who wear a niqab may be because of the recent emergence of Islamic radicalism on the campus located on Jl. Laksda Adisutjipto.
“It was just recorded on account of the issue of radicalism on campus. But if there’s discrimination on campus (because of wearing a niqab) then no, I’m just not comfortable with this policy”, she said.
Umi Kalsum says that before the data collection by campus authorities, there was never any ban on wearing a niqab for students carrying out academic activities on campus.
Although they felt surprised by the data collection, Umi said she would still attend if summoned by campus authorities.
“If I’m summoned then yes I’ll go. But supposing I’m ordered to remove it (the niqab) then yes I will ask on what grounds because I wear a niqab for my own reasons. Yes there are many reasons, personal reasons”, she said.
Umi said that for as long as she has warn a niqab and taken part in studies on campus there has never been any discrimination between students who wear the niqab and those that do not. (ren)
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was UIN Yogyakarta Larang Cadar, Mahasiswi: Kami kan Punya Hak.]