Forced religious attire banned in Indonesian schools

Indonesian public schools are now banned to make religious attire compulsory.

After a video of a Christian student being pressured to wear a headscarf in class went viral, Indonesia banned public schools from forcing students to wear religious attire.

The Indonesian government has given schools 30 days to revoke the existing rules and those who do not may face sanctions.

Nadiem Makarim, Indonesia’s Minister for Education and Culture, said that wearing religious attire was “an individual’s right… it is not the school’s decision.”

While Indonesia is a Muslim-majority country, it officially recognises other religions. At a media briefing, Yaqut Cholil Qoumas, religious affairs minister said: “Religions do not promote conflict, neither do they justify acting unfairly against those who are different.”

Andreas Harsono, a researcher at Human Rights Watch, also said this is a positive step since “many public schools require girls and female teachers to wear the hijab that too often prompt bullying, intimidation, social pressures, and in some cases, forced resignation.

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