Protest rallies in Indonesia to show support for women in Iran amid local conservatism Global Voices in Dutch

An Indonesian protester in a traditional kebaya shirt with a picture of Mahsa Amini. Photo via Arab News YouTube

distance The death of 22-year-old Muhassa Amini Who was in pre-trial detention, Iran has suffered from uprisings and protests. Amini has been arrested for not wearing a hijab since Islamic Revolution of 1979 It is mandatory for women in Iran. Her death sparked worldwide protests and debates about women’s right to freedom, censorship, and state repression. Unsurprisingly, these discussions resonated in Indonesia, the country with the largest Muslim population, where protests began in support of Amini and female protesters and their struggle in Iran.

On October 18, 2022, hundreds of Indonesian supporters, civil society members and Iranian expatriates gathered in front of the Iranian embassy in Jakarta to protest the brutal crackdown on protesters. The treatment of women and the arrest of Iranian journalists. Civil society organizations attended included representatives from Gallarua, Indonesia Awakening, United Betawi Forum, National People’s Movement Concerns, Nusantara Dei Forum, Dayak National Traditional Society Brigade, and others.

Demonstrators waved Iranian flags, took pictures of women killed in the crackdown, and carried banners reading “Stop killing innocents”. “In Indonesia, different religions and races live in harmony.” “Women, freedom of lifeIt has become a common refrain worldwide among protesters supporting the Iranian insurgency.

During the protests, about ten women cut their hair in solidarity with women in Iran. Wearing the headscarf and expressing religious symbols is not mandatory in almost all of Indonesia, with the exception of Aceh province in North Sumatra, where Muslim women are required to wear the headscarf.

Demonstrators and civil society organizations called on Indonesia, as the country with the largest Muslim population, to put pressure on Tehran to end the violence and repression. Ryrin Safsani, a women’s rights activist and one of the protest organizers, told Arab News:

We urge the Indonesian government, as the country with the largest Muslim population in the world, to use its influence over the Iranian government To end all forms of violence, including the kidnapping and killing of its residents, and to demand reform in Iran.

The demonstrators are also demanding the release of journalists detained during the Iranian protests. Andreas Harsono, founding member of the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AIJ) and researcher at Human Rights Watch Indonesia, told Arab News:

“Every country, including Iran, finds it reprehensible that press freedom is silenced and journalists are detained.”

The Iranian embassy in Jakarta has not commented publicly on whether it recognizes the street protests, although it has consistently published pro-government material since the unrest in mid-September, with the aim of promoting Iran’s reputation for gender and women’s rights through Twitter account To give an extra boost.

At home, freedom is threatened

Some activists warn that rising conservatism in parts of Indonesia may lead to women losing the right to make their own decisions. Although the national government prohibits the wearing of religious clothing in schools, at the local level in Indonesian schools it is increasingly common for girls to wear the headscarf in class due to direct or strong social pressure.

Donna Sweta is an activist with the Institute for Women’s Empowerment in Indonesia’s Aceh province, one of the most conservative districts in the country and the only one where Sharia law has been introduced. She says she was arrested, harassed and intimidated by the police for not wearing a headscarf.

“This is not only the case in Ace, but it is spreading across the country,” she told the UK Telegraph.

2021 report by Human Rights Watch (Human Rights Watch) describes the growing conservatism and fundamentalism in Indonesia. The report, titled “I wanted to run away: abusive dress codes for women and girls in Indonesia,” describes the rise of conservatism, particularly in rural villages, as well as cases of abuse and intimidation against women and girls who choose not to be religious. Or conservative.. to wear clothes. The report also contains conflicting reactions from President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) and the federal government.

The report was written by Andreas Harsono, senior researcher at Human Rights Watch Indonesia. the report:

Over the past two decades, women and girls in Indonesia have faced unprecedented legal and social demands to wear clothing classified as Islamic, as part of a broader effort to enforce Islamic law in most parts of the country. In recent years, this pressure has intensified.

Similarly, on September 28, the editorial board of the Jakarta Post, a major newspaper in Indonesia, published an editorial expressing concern that if emerging Islamic fundamentalism is not contained, Indonesia may face the same threats as Iran. It failed to alert the Indonesian public that events in Iran may also occur in Indonesia itself. The article continues:

Indonesia, the country with the most Muslim population, is known for representing moderate Islam. But the tragedy in Iran could become a reality here too if the government could not resist the temptation to control the private lives of its citizens in the name of religious or ideological motives.

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