Activists Deride Shariah Focus on Women

Banda Aceh, TAG - A group of 18 civil society organizations in Aceh has lashed out at local clerics’ interpretation of Shariah, which it says is unduly focused on women’s clothing.

Arabiyani, coordinator of the Care for Shariah Civil Society Network (JMSPS), said on Monday that while Islamic jurisprudence could be put to good use in addressing far more pressing matters, it always seemed to get hung up on the issue of how women dressed.
“The implementation of Shariah in Aceh constantly focuses on women and what they wear, while ignoring other matters like corruption, human rights and education,” she said.
“We’re extremely fed up with the authorities and the clerics for their lack of response to the big issues and their constant niggling on this one topic.”
She added that while requiring Islamic dress for Muslim women was a relevant matter, “it’s not going to end corruption or bring about prosperity for all members of society.”
The JMSPS, comprising human rights and women’s rights groups, was responding to a call at the end of last month by clerics and Islamic school students for Governor Irwandi Yusuf to make Islamic dress for Muslim women mandatory across the province.
West Aceh district has introduced mandatory Islamic dress for women, but the province’s 22 other districts and cities have not followed suit.
Irwandi said he would consider the request.
Arabiyani said it would be regrettable if the administration focused its attention on such an unimportant matter, and launched into satirical tirade.
“It’s a shame that most of the scholarships and postgraduate programs the administration offers don’t focus on the science behind Islamic attire,” she said.
“The funds for employment programs have also failed to meet the province’s need for workers who are skilled in Islamic dress matters, understand sewing-machine technology and are experts in the field of managing and marketing Islamic attire.”
Still satirizing the issue, she called on the governor to approve the clerics’ demand for a provincewide bylaw requiring women to wear Islamic dress, and to set up an institute responsible for designing the clothes “as part of the administration’s medium- and long-term development plan.”
Since 2010, Muslim women in West Aceh have been required to wear full-body clothing that does not reveal their figure and only shows their face and palms.
They are also forbidden from wearing jeans or trousers.
While the regulation was strictly enforced at the beginning, crackdowns against women wearing pants or forgoing the jilbab have become less frequent.[]
Activists Deride Shariah Focus on Women Activists Deride Shariah Focus on Women Reviewed by Nurdin Hasan on February 09, 2011 Rating: 5

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