The Indonesian province of Aceh has ordered female flight attendants transiting the region to don a hijab prior to landing – or face punishment by religious police.
The command to wear the Islamic-compliant headscarf has been made under sharia law which also demands non-Muslim females wear “modest clothing” instead of western clothing while visiting Aceh.
Australia’s Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) reports that Aceh has been forced to issue the new regulations because of flight crew who use the local airport during layovers. Mawardy Ali, head of Aceh Besar district which includes provincial capital Banda Aceh, said:
I hope the airlines respect the uniqueness of Aceh where Sharia (Islamic law) is implemented.
We are disseminating this regulation to the airlines through the end of this week. Later, we’ll talk about punishment if we find there have been violations.
If a (Muslim) crew member fails to comply, we will reprimand her. If she does it repeatedly, I will order Sharia police to nab her.
Indonesia is the world’s most populous Muslim country, and Aceh province in western Indonesia is the most Islamic region in the country. Aceh is known as the “Gateway to Mecca,” both because it is the westernmost tip of the Indonesian archipelago and thus a good starting point for the Islamic pilgrimage (hajj) and because of its long association with Islam.
This is not the first time that the imposition of strict Islamic laws there have caused controversy.
As Breitbart reported, the capital Banda Aceh banned celebrations of Valentine’s Day in 2017, contending that the holiday violates Islamic law.
“Our society and the Muslim youth should certainly not be celebrating non-Islamic holidays,” declared Mayor Illiza Saaduddin Djamal. “The law says it is haram. The government is obliged to protect the public and younger generation from unlawful acts.”
The Indonesian ban extends to gifting flowers and chocolates to loved ones, as well as public displays with Valentine’s Day decorations.