JAKARTA – Regulations requiring Muslim flight attendants in Indonesia’s Aceh to wear the hijab – a veil covering the head and chest – when in the province, the only one in the country which practices Islamic Sharia law, came into effect on Wednesday.
Mawardi Ali, the police chief of Aceh Besar, distributed new regulations earlier this month to several airlines and provincial bodies urging the firms to comply with Islamic law.
Starting Wednesday, air stewardesses are expected wear the hijab and appropriate clothes as per Sharia law, according to the police instructions accessed by EFE.
Ali told EFE by telephone that the rule only applies to Muslim flight attendants.
Aceh, located in the far north of Sumatra Island, was allowed to adopt Islamic law in 2002 by the central government in order to stifle separatist aspirations in the province.
Although all women, irrespective of religion, are required to wear the hijab, the law is not strictly implemented in case of non Muslims.
Sharia law in Aceh criminalizes homosexual relations, adultery, gambling and alcohol consumption, with flogging the usual form of punishment.
Indonesia is home to the world’s largest Muslim population, with nearly 88 percent of its over 260 million inhabitants devoted to Islam, who mostly practice a moderate form of the religion.