Sisters In Islam lauds the cabinet consensus that the wearing of the tudung should not be made compulsory for students in universities and higher learning institutions in the country. (NST, 10 November 2005, front page).
The wearing of the tudung must not be imposed on any student, or on any woman in any setting for that matter, as matters concerning religion are highly personal and the individual choice should be respected. Muslim women should choose their dress from inner conviction. No coerced choice can ever really be moral; such coercion, in fact, runs counter to Islam’s emancipatory emphasis upon reason/freedom as the basis of human morality.
We also note that this non-coercive stance applies to the International Islamic University, and is applicable to both Muslim and non-Muslim students. Scarves and tudungs have cultural and religious connotations, and therefore it is insufficient to suggest that the wearing of a headscarf is merely an administrative matter. Coercion in this case will be construed as crossing the cultural and religious lines. Islam urges its adherents to respect people of other faiths and practices, and to not use coercion in matters of religion, including “no coercion in dress codes”, as voiced by a minister quoted in the NST article.
SIS believes that this sensitive principle in Islam is an important point to bear in mind in our multi-ethnic and multi-religious society, and that the cabinet consensus in fact reinforces the stance of tolerance and respect in universities.
Sisters In Islam
10 November 2005