I found a very interesting article, Bikini or headscarf – which offers more freedom?
Very interesting and very applicable to our situation.
I really enjoyed that article too.
Oh yes, I understand what she means but I just found it interesting that she didn't say
Twenty odd years ago, my father told a French friend of his that he has three children. One is French, the other Indonesian and the youngest American. In a way he was right. We all grew up in the same household, but because we were all 4 years apart from each other, we had had pretty much different lives.
As my parents were pretty much Westernized and had studied and lived abroad, it wasn't too much of a problem though there have been times when my mother would grumble or glare that I really ought to be more... well, Indonesian and Javanese. I think she regrets that none of her children will carry on the Javanese culture though it's pretty difficult if you've never really lived it.
On another matter. Indonesia is the country with the largest Muslim population in the world (over 200 million) yet the country is secular (newspapers and news stations saying that we're the largest Muslim nation are incorrect in stating this.) And whilst more women have chosen to wear the veil, here it's more a matter of choice (they are middle aged, have become more practicing, have gone on the Haj) or fashion/fad than a matter of customs (there isn't one - that's an Arab custom not a Muslim one) or peer pressure (the majority of Indonesians have grown up in a community where women do not wear the scarf.) So for most of us, wearing the scarf would be a huge change, but we understand (or try to) that a person's spiritual journey leads her to make those personal choices. It's different than in Malaysia where there is huge societal pressure for Malay Muslims to wear the scarf.
People here are much more moderate than in the Middle East or South Asia. For most of us wearing Western-clothing and no scarf does not mean that a woman is not practicing, and wearing the scarf and Muslim-clothes does not automatically mean that she is a good Muslim.
My second cousin did choose to wear the scarf when she was in high school. It took us a couple of years to not automatically raise our eyebrows that she was so conservative in her practice and views.
Similarly, when a close friend of mine was born again and told me that she was quitting her job so that she could totally devote herself to her ministry, I cried for the whole night. She had changed, and she was making another huge change that I struggled to understand.
Totally agree with this Poppy
Yes, it's sensible to cover oneself up in Arab countries. It's hot, and most of the population would have skin cancer early if they weren't covered from head to toe.
We also have some narrow-thinking/interpreting clerics here, but those exist in all religions and countries. Those clerics forget that Islam has been in Indonesia since the 15th century, and that it was gradually adopted by the population. It adapted itself to the local culture and vice versa. The religion was also spread here through believers of various nationalities, too - Indian, Chinese, etc.
A lot of people here also think Arab culture equals Muslim culture. Not so.
“Women here used to wear headscarves in the 1940's and 50's to keep their hair neat - and that had absolutely no religious significance.”
That’s true for the U.S. too.