Religious Affairs Minister Fachrul Razi said although it was not illegal to wear the niqab, or full-face veil, in Indonesia, he would not accept it personally. (B1 Photo/Joanito de Saojoao)
Religious Affairs Minister Opposes Wearing of Full-Face Veil
NOVEMBER 01, 2019
Jakarta. Religious Affairs Minister Fachrul Razi said although it was not illegal to wear the niqab, or full-face veil, in Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation, he would not accept it personally.
He said the Koran also does not require Muslim women to wear the niqab, nor does the Hadith, the guidance based on the Prophet Muhammad's daily practice.
"The full-face veil has no roots in the Koran or in the Hadith, in my view," Fachrul said after a meeting at the offices of the Coordinating Ministry of Human Development and Culture in Central Jakarta on Thursday.
"Wearing a full-face veil doesn't necessarily mean a greater degree of faith or a closer relationship with God," he added.
The Ministry of Religious Affairs would never ban Muslim women from wearing it, but security procedures should be followed, Fachrul said, referring to rules that oblige motorcyclists to remove their helmets and motorists to open their car windows when entering public buildings.
"So if someone wants to meet me with a covered face, I would certainly decline, 'please leave,'" he said, adding that all ministry staff held a similar view.
"Everyone shares a similar stance: There is no law on wearing the full-face veil, and it's not a measure of someone's faith," he said.
The retired Army general was given a special task when President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo appointed him as religious affairs minister on Oct. 23.
"We want the religious affairs ministry to take concrete action in dealing with radicalism and intolerance," Jokowi said.
Despite the controversy surrounding his military background, Fachrul is not the first retired general to be appointed religious affairs minister.
Retired Army general Alamsyah Ratu Perwiranegara and retired Navy admiral Tarmizi Taher served as religious affairs ministers during former President Suharto's 32-year rule.