Indonesian policewomen can wear hijab while on duty

Muslim organisations are lauding the move by the country's National Police, although some have expressed concerns about separation of religion and state.

By Andhika Bhakti for Khabar Southeast Asia in Jakarta

August 09, 2013
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Muslim leaders in Indonesia have welcomed a recent decision by the national police to allow policewomen to wear the hijab while on duty, a move that promises to quell long-standing complaints.

  • Policewomen perform the

    Policewomen perform the "Gangnam Style" dance while securing a Labour Day rally in front of City Hall in Surabaya, East Java on May 1st. National Police chief Timur Pradopo has said he will revoke a decree that bans policewomen from wearing hijab on the job. [Juni Kriswanto/AFP]

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On June 20th, National Police chief Timur Pradopo announced that he would revoke the ban, and he has since assigned a team to draft new rules on policewomen and hijab, The Jakarta Post reported.

"The team has been assigned to study public opinion and input from female officers. It will also consider suggestions from religious experts," National Police spokesman Ronny F. Sompie said.

Many Indonesians opposed the ban on wearing hijab by policewomen on duty, imposed in 2005 across the country, except in the province of Aceh.

Political parties and Islamic organisations such as the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) and Muhammadiyah had been calling for the restriction to be revoked.

"Wearing the hijab is a form of freedom of religion, and it is guaranteed in our 1945 Constitution," Muhammadiyah chairman Din Syamsuddin told Khabar Southeast Asia.

MUI Deputy Secretary-General Amir Shah told Khabar he is pleased by the recent decision by the Indonesian Police (POLRI).

"From the beginning, we (MUI) disagreed with the ban. I am glad that POLRI has reviewed the decision. They do not have any right to ban policewomen from wearing hijab while performing their duties," Amir said. "They are working to be good Muslims and good employees."

Not all agree with the decision, however. Some say that police personnel, who have a duty to all citizens regardless of religious background, should not be visibly affiliated with a particular faith.

According to Nia Elvina, a sociologist from the National University of Jakarta, the ban helped promote neutrality in a government institution.

"Policewomen are protectors for our citizens. They have to be neutral, and should not highlight a particular symbol of religion, education and economic status," she told Khabar.

Jakarta resident Susi Erdinati agreed that law enforcement should not be linked to religion.

"Policewomen should be able to interact with many people from many religious backgrounds. They must be available for anyone and not only for Muslims," she told Khabar. "It is better to keep all government agencies neutral. I believe it is also a kind of respect for those who are not Muslims," she added.

Supporters of the move, however, say that the sight of devout Muslim policewomen will raise Indonesians' respect for law enforcement.

"Wearing hijab should be regarded as implementing religious teachings, and it has a high moral orientation. It is also a positive element for the police. They are setting a good example for society," said Din, the Muhammadiyah chairman.

Jakarta resident Ardian Saragih told Khabar that the issue should be a matter of personal choice.

"If there isn't a specific security concern involved, it is better to give a woman an option to decide if she would like to wear the hijab or not," Ardian said.

Reader Comments
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    • herisusanto
      November 29, 2013 @ 11:11:58PM
    • Do not go near an infidel when you talk or you will be harmed.
    • mardon
      November 19, 2013 @ 09:11:42AM
    • Obedience to carry out religious teachings is a reflection of service with authority; proper and very Eastern. Two thumbs up for the Indonesian Police.
    • Kiki
      November 19, 2013 @ 04:11:00AM
    • I support hijab for Indonesian women police.
    • dian
      November 13, 2013 @ 06:11:29PM
    • The ban wearing hijab for policewoman is the big mistakes
    • Yuri
      November 19, 2013 @ 04:11:40AM
    • Hijab is good, I agree and support
    • MC.WAN
      November 13, 2013 @ 07:11:21AM
    • Praise Allah, I hope that this plan to authorize the use of hijab for the policewomen will be a good step in the eyes of Allah. Other female civil servants should be able to adjust. Do not seek the way of Satan. All this fuss is over something good, think how it would be when it is about something bad.
    • rudi rusyana
      November 11, 2013 @ 05:11:57AM
    • Assalamualaikum. wr.wb. Those who say that the Indonesian Police or policewomen, as part of the nation's security body must stay neutral is right but the implementation does not involve prohibiting someone from carrying out their religious teachings. Even If all public service institutions who supposedly provide services without discrimination based on ethnicity, customs, race, or religion put their lives on the line in the name of duty, this does not mean that they should abandon their religious teachings. In any case, services in hospitals where nurses, doctors, and employees wear hijabs have never discriminated. They provide good service to Muslims and non-Muslims. Telecommunication companies, electronic media have remained professional. Therefore, do not presume that neutrality in the line of duty means eliminating religious life for it is through these religious signposts that we can carry out our duties professionally. Be careful, do not misunderstand the term serve to have the same meaning as destroying a person's faith. There are many generals out there who do not refrain from shalat. The hijab is Sharia (an absolute law that must be adhered to) and not something that you do only if you want to or something you are welcome to try. This is a wrong perception. With this, I support the revocation of the hijab ban within the Indonesian Police. This is reminiscent of the '80s when schoolchildren were prohibited from wearing a hijab under the threat of expulsion. This is misunderstanding. Okay, Mr. Din Syamsudin and MUI, I give my support. Keep it up and do not back down in the name of truth. Wassalam.
    • silvia
      November 11, 2013 @ 02:11:22AM
    • The video is really crazy.
    • eva yuliana
      November 3, 2013 @ 05:11:20AM
    • This is what I have been waiting for. I used to want to be a policewoman but they were prohibited from wearing the headscarf and that aspiration went away. Piety towards Allah is more important than work. Blessings come from Allah too, why resist obeying Allah's commands.
    • gus dur
      November 2, 2013 @ 09:11:24AM
    • Such a big fuss over this.
    • aurat
      November 1, 2013 @ 03:11:28AM
    • : It seems that you are lack of knowledge. Policewomen are civil servants (PNS), just like all the PNS working in government bodies who wear a hijab. Even though they wear the hijab those women are able to work well without violating the constitution. Therefore, there is nothing wrong with Muslim policewomen who have the awareness to cover their private body parts with a hijab. At any rate, wearing the hijab would not bother non-Muslim policewomen who do not wear it, right?
    • syafrullah
      October 30, 2013 @ 01:10:40PM
    • Sorry, Muslims who do not cover their entire private parts may as well be naked. This is especially true for women whose bodies are mostly considered to be private. This is the analogy: if you subtract Rp 1 from Rp 1000 it would no longer be Rp. 1000 but Rp. 999. Another example; if you intend to fast but break it 1 minute before the proper time it would not count as fasting. Ironically, in a country that adheres to Pancasila, of which first principle is "One Almighty God", where the majority of its citizens are Muslims, there are many women on the street and the entertainment world who do not cover up, naked. This is not confidence but stubbornness, disregarding the fundamental principles of religion. What is the difference then between us and communist and primitive countries - we are worse. Therefore, we need leaders who are approved by Allah; righteous, trustworthy, intelligent, forthright and have good descendants. The analogy: The offspring of a tiger would also be a tiger, a tiger has superior physique and power compared to a cat which can only 'meow'. If you observe turtledoves from Katuranggan, Dema, Majapahit, Tuban, Pajajaran, etc. you will see that the circles of their eyes are different colors and that they also have different stances. This shows that differing characters, including the fact that ace leaves are always dry whereas rambutan leaves are not, do not compare the holy land to our land, we are not even allowed to mix the soils together. The holy land is a blessing from the prophets and people of Allah. The fragrant root of Garut is not as fragrant when planted outside Garut. Think about it.
    • Arben
      October 23, 2013 @ 12:10:24PM
    • "Policewomen cannot be seen as affiliated to a particular religion", "Whether a person is good or bad cannot be evaluated based on what they wear but how they behave", "When wearing a complete hijab they will experience problems when dealing with emergency situations. God will surely appreciate the fact that policewomen help victims in critical situations more than one who wastes time putting on a cumbersome hijab before helping the victim". These are some misleading statements. God forbid the police are kept from praying because it shows their affiliation to Islam. The hijab is for covering the body, not just an article of clothing. The police should not be prevented from wearing pants because we are concerned about emergency conditions and prohibiting civil servants from wearing hijabs in the name of Pancasila. I agree with Mr. Nasrullah.
    • topo
      October 23, 2013 @ 09:10:53AM
    • The flag ceremony for the Proclamation of Independence on August 17, 1945 at Pegangsaan Timur was attended by a hijab wearing woman: Mrs. Fatmawati.
    • angelina sipahutar
      October 22, 2013 @ 10:10:03AM
    • wah..wah...wah,Is goood dech tooo Police women Surabaya
    • Dr. eusoff Yendo Afgani
      October 22, 2013 @ 05:10:15AM
    • see the world guys.. even in Brittain or even closser country Malaysia, the government allow their citizen to wear the opposan of jilbaber , i ask you on behalf of demo-crazy..if one people must be recognized for his/her human right to be topless..attend the nude carnival....why we too hot and angry to those who wanna wear cover her body....give those who wanna wear hijab also her human right.. amen njingok betino telanjang galak nian..amen njingok wong bejilbab dak suko nian.. buyan nian human right concept nie ..ridiculos Dr. Yusof Yendo Afgani, Johor bahru Malaysia
    • Sigo
      November 3, 2013 @ 03:11:50AM
    • Seriously dude, policewomen are not allowed to exercise their human right to be topless WHILE THEY ARE WORKING. So should it be with the hijab. That is why it is called a "uniform." You are making a bad analogy and using faulty logic.
      October 21, 2013 @ 02:10:09AM
    • The hijab policy for Muslim policewomen, whether they want to wear it depends on each individual Muslim policewoman, while other people should not be bothered or annoyed by. Policewomen are also religious, and there are religious laws that are commensurate to state laws in that both need to be applied and adhered to. Adherence to law = freedom from punishment, breaking the law = legal punishments. At any rate this hijab policy applies only to Muslim policewomen, it does not violate the rights of non-Muslim policewomen. The law and Pancasila also encompasses freedom of religion and the freedom to carry out its terms. The hijab policy for Muslim policewomen will not interfere with the duties or careers of non-Muslim policewomen. As Indonesian's we should uphold the philosophy of Bhinneka Tunggal Ika.
    • syafrullah
      October 9, 2013 @ 10:10:57AM
    • The opinion that the country is separate from religion comes from ignorant people who do not want to be governed by religion, in other words, budding communists. Those people eat, drink, etc. things that come from the earth, a country has earth, earth is the almighty God's creation. Even though people create laws or say whatever they want, you cannot deny or betray Him. People who think like that incriminate themselves, they eat and drink what comes from God but they do not want to be governed by the creator of man and the universe. Remember "Allah created Ghost and man to worship me (me = Allah)". Mind what you say, do not pawn off your religion, do not do things to be perceived as tolerant (In each era, from Majapahit to the Sultanates, there had always been one religion that ruled at one time. In the kingdom of Majapahit either Hindu or Buddha prevailed and then perfected into the Sultanates where Islam reigned, and the age of the Walisongo who belonged to the Majapahit bloodline. This is a real example of tolerance. Tolerance nowadays has deviated from history but look at the true tenets of religion, sorry, but wake up and take a look in the mirror.
    • khotik
      October 9, 2013 @ 06:10:31AM
    • Not funny.
    • karya
      October 3, 2013 @ 12:10:48PM
    • Epistle Al Ahzab verse 59: “O Prophet, tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to bring down over themselves [part] of their outer garments. That is more suitable that they will be known and not be abused. And ever is Allah Forgiving and Merciful.” Explanation: As it was explained above, that what is truly commanded is to fix and adjust the hijab worn by women, not the wearing of the hijab itself because it has always been ordinary, day-to-day attire there. In other words, It is a part of Arabic culture. It is Sunnatullah (Divine Tradition) for people living in hot places to wear loose clothing, whereas people in cold places (Alaska for instance) tend to wear more skintight and thicker clothing. The reason that this verse was written was so that people dress conservatively, therefore women are more respectable and would not be harassed by those with dirty minds. We can see that in the story above it is neither written or implied that wearing the hijab is mandatory and it is therefore clear that wearing the hijab is not an obligation. Religious leaders should not get lost in subjectivity when talking about revelations so that what they convey is in line with Allah's will. If it is mandatory, say so; if it is optional, say so; if it is permitted, say so but not based on personal preference. The prophet is made happy with Shalat Tahajud, but because Allah has decided it is optional, then convey to His people that the Shalat Tahajud is indeed optional.
    • karya
      October 3, 2013 @ 12:10:18PM
    • Epistle An Nur verse 31 "And tell the believing women to reduce [some] of their vision and guard their private parts and not expose their adornment except that which [necessarily] appears thereof and to wrap [a portion of] their head covers over their chests and not expose their adornment..." Explanation: Truthfully the concept of this verse is more accurate when read in conjunction to the previous verse, An Nur verse 30, which illustrates the characteristics of a believing man in his interactions with people, whereas An Nur verse 31 illustrates the attitudes of a believing woman in her interactions. Therefore, the concept is the code of conduct within the interaction between men and women in Islam. In verse 30, men are commanded to mind their eyes so they do not run wild and produce sexual impulses (the genitals), whereas in verse 31, women are commanded to, other than to mind their eyes, also to cover their bodies, which in this case refers to their breasts and the area around them. The veil that is worn must also cover the breasts if there is no other fabric concealing them. The body cannot be exposed to tempt men into being attracted to them which will ultimately lead to adultery and sexual intercourse. They should also never expose her adornments which will also lead to adultery. So, what the verse is referring to is not an obligation to wear head covers because wearing them has always been customary there.
    • pa
      October 2, 2013 @ 12:10:09PM
    • Foolish idea!....Religion and State matter is a different problem. THIS IS NOT A MUSLIM COUNTRY! state officer must remain neutral in ever condition. WHY this KAPOLRI follow certain opinion without asking others?
    • embete
      September 30, 2013 @ 12:09:11PM
    • The problem is at the bottom part, but solved it by covering the top part
    • dibyo adi
      September 28, 2013 @ 12:09:08PM
    • Hopefully this will not only apply for the Indonesian Police. The women of the TNI who are not allowed to wear the hijab can take a leaf out of the policewomen's book because it is the right of every Muslim woman. Long live Mr. Timur Pradopo! Keep spreading peace over Indonesia.
    • musang berjanggut
      October 11, 2013 @ 11:10:17PM
    • The Indonesian Police do not see the diversity of this nation. They comply to the whims of a few Arab oriented individuals. What is wrong with the existing uniform for policewomen? This is the beginning of this nation's downfall.
    • helmi indra
      September 24, 2013 @ 09:09:52AM
    • Wearing the hijab? Of is set forth in the holy Qur'an, so no one can stand in the way, and there is no doubt. It is those who challenge it who need to be questioned, especially when they invoke the constitution, which means that they do not understand the meaning of the constitution. Wearing hijab will not diminish the responsibility of policewomen in protecting every Indonesian citizen, without exception. So, think positive.
    • syafrullah
      September 18, 2013 @ 10:09:37AM
    • What is wrong with this country? Since the Majapahit era until the sultanate era the people of Indonesia have been faithful to the Almighty God, essentially, covering the body is part of this piety. What needs to be discussed are those stubborn women who do not cover their bodies and there needs to be harsh and firm punishments for those women are raping the eyes of men, especially men who have done the absolution rituals. Protect people so they do not perish, do not just protect rare animals but also humanize good people.
    • jon
      September 9, 2013 @ 11:09:59PM
    • good or not person is not seen of cloths or ect...but depending in how they act to others and their enviroment,..
    • ade
      September 8, 2013 @ 05:09:16PM
    • Wearing the hijab is proof of one's obedience to Allah and then also the rules set by our leaders. "The police has an obligation to protect all citizens, not any particular groups".
    • sultan
      September 8, 2013 @ 02:09:58AM
    • I support the steps taken by the head of police to revoke the ban. I hope God grants him great rewards, Amen.
    • edykumis
      September 4, 2013 @ 05:09:25AM
    • Even in America, where Muslims are a minority, they still respect their Muslim citizens who are policewomen and allow them to wear the hijab! Why not in Indonesia? We need only to adjust the style of the hijab to fit with the policewomen's uniforms.
    • juan pradana
      September 3, 2013 @ 06:09:38PM
    • Who says that the hijab is God's mandate? In reality it is culture from the middle east where the temperature is hot and there are many deserts and thus covering is needed to protect the body from the searing heat etc. To save face they made it into law as if Muslims are obligated to wear the hijab.
    • ezy zuliyanti
      November 30, 2013 @ 01:11:55AM
    • The one who says "as if Muslims are obligated to wear the hijab" is truly stupid. Anyone who calls themselves a Muslim or Muslimah must cover their body parts. It was God himself who says in the Qur'an that wearing the hijab is an obligation. Think before commenting.
    • kynta
      October 15, 2013 @ 11:10:33AM
    • You think you know it all.
    • Joshua
      October 14, 2013 @ 09:10:25AM
    • Any truly good woman would never wear provacative, or skimpy clothing...ever Woman, and men in lesser ways, should dress respectfully and cover themselves properly, as not to arouse sexual responses in others.
    • rizal
      October 4, 2013 @ 05:10:01AM
    • That is right, I agree.
    • uya g
      September 30, 2013 @ 05:09:24AM
    • read more my bro, Islam basic law is Al-Quran and Al Hadist. beware....
    • angga
      September 24, 2013 @ 03:09:13AM
    • That is right, there is no command to wear a hijab. There is a command to cover the body (for Muslims).
    • taupik rahman
      September 2, 2013 @ 09:09:42AM
    • If anyone says that wearing it is complicated, they will have to answer for it before Allah for it only takes one word for one to enter heaven but it also takes one word for one to enter hell. Repent now.
    • imam mursalin
      September 1, 2013 @ 06:09:35PM
    • When we are conducting our duties we need to be neutral, because such is the teachings of Islam. To all we shall be fair and stand between truth and depravity. If a policewoman wears a hijab, it is her personal choice as a Muslimah who fears Allah. But be sure that when they put on the hijab they will be consistent and impartial. Those who prohibit this are secular Muslims and Jews.
    • Three
      August 26, 2013 @ 06:08:13PM
    • Wearing hijab is human right. Wearing Papuan traditional no bra is also human right. Unfortunately there always local or organizational or social code in clothing depends on each area. Also consideration on job simplicity like police women, who may face difficulty in wearing complete hijab during emergency situation. It is absolutely God will appreciate the police woman to help victims during critical situation rather than spend some more time to wear the complex hijab before help the victim. This is the way the police is always work.
    • syafrullah
      October 5, 2013 @ 04:10:58AM
    • If you are a Muslim, be mindful of what you think and say. Do not pawn off your own religion for the sake of tolerance or human rights, the context and situation is different. Wearing the hijab is a human right but the emphasis is to cover one's shame. In Papua it is a human right to not wear a bra but remember that they still straddle the line that separates us from primitives. People who consider themselves Muslims should focus on covering their shame. For Papuans who still do not wear bras, it is the job of the government and enlightened people to introduce them to proper clothing for those who want to start to understand the feeling of being ashamed, the process will gradually shorten. Now there are Papuans who wear full sets of clothing, what is important for Muslims is: "Allah created ghost and man to worship Me (Me = Allah). Be careful, do not speak for tolerance or human rights and yet deny your own religion.
    • Rahman
      September 11, 2013 @ 11:09:46PM
    • very like your comment.. hijab is human right....
    • din
      September 9, 2013 @ 01:09:04AM
    • Wearing a hijab is not complicated, my friend.
    • mohamad abas
      August 25, 2013 @ 04:08:51AM
    • We hope next haping regulation for this institution, isya Allah.
    • emelianus wakei
      August 24, 2013 @ 01:08:15AM
    • The Indonesian constitution protects the religious rights of Indonesian citizens. This means that prohibiting Muslim women to wear the hijab is against the constitution. So, Indonesian policewomen should be allowed to wear a hijab. Wearing a hijab does not mean that Indonesian policewomen will only protect Muslims. Those policewomen will protect all the people of Indonesia, not just Muslims but also non-Muslims. Even American policewomen are allowed to wear a hijab when they are on duty.
    • adykumis
      September 4, 2013 @ 05:09:52AM
    • Emelianus Wakei I agree!
    • taupik rahman
      September 2, 2013 @ 10:09:07AM
    • Indeed, Islam is a gift to all of nature, protecting all, even non-Muslim citizens. Please learn about the life of prophet Muhammad and the lives of his closest friends and followers.
    • maris
      August 22, 2013 @ 09:08:30AM
    • hijab is a human right, a direct order from God, when a woman is free to naked, why she should be banned for hijab?!?
    • Usman Suharjo
      August 20, 2013 @ 02:08:07AM
    • Indonesian Constitution protects religious right of the Indonesian people. That means, banning Muslim women wearing hijab is against the constitution. Therefore, Indonesian policewomen should be allowed to wear hijab. Wearing hijab does not mean that Indonesian Policewomen will only protect Moslem. They policewomen will protect all Indonesian, not only Muslim but also non-Muslim. In fact, American policewomen are allowed to wear hijab on duty too.
    • jalal
      August 16, 2013 @ 04:08:15AM
    • Wearing a hijab will not make them seem like they are affiliated with anyone, but will affirm their duty as Muslim women who are good, firm, and trustworthy.
    • sarjono
      August 15, 2013 @ 11:08:11PM
    • For Muslim women, the hijab is mandatory, once again, mandatory. Those who do not wear the hijab put their Islamic faith into question.
    • Astria
      August 15, 2013 @ 02:08:43AM
    • Please no hijab for policewomen while on duty. It can be a disobeying of Indonesian Constituion to protect all Indonesian Citizen, not only muslim.
    • oki
      November 30, 2013 @ 01:11:05AM
    • Okay, bro. Great, awesome.
    • Nina
      November 19, 2013 @ 04:11:12AM
    • I agree, bro.
    • kynta
      October 15, 2013 @ 11:10:00AM
    • Why? The hijab is just a piece of clothing and will not impede their duties, they can still protect citizens regardless of religion. Why would you say it violates the constitution? I don't understand your thinking.
    • musang berjanggut
      October 11, 2013 @ 11:10:14PM
    • You are right. It has become even more apparent the direction in which they are taking this nation, away from Pancasila. It is a pity that Indonesia's officials do not live by Pancasila and therefore commit corruption. And look at these comments made by those who think themselves the most righteous in the world. People who disagree are deemed infidels. I hope there is still a place in heaven for people who seek to create an Islamic Indonesia.
    • embete
      September 30, 2013 @ 12:09:06PM
    • Why? because god is a human fantasy
    • taupik rahman
      September 2, 2013 @ 09:09:44AM
    • In the name of Allah, never allow infidels to stand in the way of the teachings of Islam. Truth from Allah will prevail even if infidels try to get in the way.
    • solihudin
      August 18, 2013 @ 10:08:08PM
    • Why would we forbid the commands of God? It is the right of every individual, no need to interfere. We are all given the freedom to carry religious mandate. Why forbid those who try to do good? These are strange times! This may be a sign of this nation's moral degeneration.
    • Tri waluyojati
      August 8, 2013 @ 10:08:27PM
    • That's an example of a religious government official who also upholds national integrity. Secularism respects all religions in Indonesia, while communism divides religions. Eventually we will be without religion or Pancasila If Indonesia prohibits its citizens or officials from having a religion, unless the country abides by communist principles and divides religion and even eliminating it, keep this in mind.

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