Indonesia’s Aceh Stewardesses to Don Hijab

BANDA ACEH, Indonesia – Muslim flight attendants flying into Indonesia’s Aceh province will be wearing hijab after authorities in the province issued an order affecting this change in their uniform.

“All female stewardesses must wear a ‘jilbab’ (headscarf) Muslim fashion in accordance with the rules of sharia,” a letter circulated by the local government stated, Reuters reported on Wednesday, January 31.

The letter was addressed to Indonesian flag carrier Garuda Indonesia and several budget carriers including Malaysia’s AirAsia and Firefly.

The international airport in the provincial capital Banda Aceh services dozens of domestic flights every week, and international routes to Malaysia and Saudi Arabia.

The change in uniform would only apply to Muslim stewardesses as non-Muslims would not be required to wear a hijab, Mawardi Ali, chief of Aceh Besar regency where the airport is located, said.

A spokesman for Garuda Indonesia, Ikhsan Rosan said the airline and its budget arm Citilink “support the suggestions” and would comply.

Aceh, located on the northern tip of Sumatra Island, is the only province in Indonesia that applied Shari`ah laws.

The region was granted partial autonomy from the central government in Jakarta under the Special Autonomy Law in 2001.

Accordingly, the area’s provincial administration adopted a series of bylaws governing the implementation of Shari`ah among the Muslim community in the province.