A public university in Indonesia, the largest Muslim country in the world, has banned women from wearing full-face veils on campus for fear of their radicalizing influence, the Daily Mail reported.
The State Islamic University in Yogyakarta, Java has noticed an alarming trend in the once-moderate country of an encroaching extremist interpretation of Islam.
A recent survey of high schools and university students indicate that almost 20 percent support a caliphate over the current secular government of Indonesia.
The university says there are 41 women on campus wearing full-face veils. They plan to offer the women counselling and eventually tell them they must take off their face veils if they want to graduate.
Opinions about the ban were mixed, with hardliners declaring the policy “un-Islamic’ and saying it goes against the country’s commitment to diversity.
One female activist also decried the move, opposing it because it limits the freedom of women to choose for themselves what to wear.
“Using full-face veils is a choice and we cannot interfere in their choice and their freedom,” said Lathiefah Widuri Retyaningtyas.
Rector of the university, Yudian Wahyudi said the policy was a “preventive action to save the students.”
“Female students wearing the burqa, and radical groups, they are disturbing the teaching process,’ he added. “We are putting moderate Islam forward.”
Headscarves that do not cover the face will still be allowed.