Hodgepodge pointed me to the issue that arose in the media yesterday.
He was replying to Lim Kit Siang (DAP â€“ Ipoh Timur), who read out an e-mail by a IIU undergraduate who said she was forced to wear the tudung to her convocation.
via The Star.
Perhaps Hodgepodge over-reacted a bit dramatically when he wrote this:
Lim Kit Siang produced and read a letter written to him by a graduate of the IIU who was forced to wear a tudung during her convocation. This is just plain sad. What should have been one of the most joyful days of her student life was instead turned into one of shame. Not because of the tudung mind you, but because the very rights given to us by our constitution was shattered.
Being an ex-IIU student, my understanding of the rules is that non-Muslims are required, as part of the “dress code” to cover their aurah. The rule to cover the aurah for male and female students is just like any other rule: when we went to school, the rule was that little boys wear short blue pants and girls wore that blue skirt and white blouse. In the office, the rule is men wear ties.
Rules exist for a reason and are meant to be followed, not broken or cried over. Dress code rules exist to create a sense of identity and belonging — its very much a social rule, sometimes its institutionalized (like the case of schooles and colleges) and sometimes its not (like in the case of our office space). Even in the dot-com environment, where there tends to be a lack of any dress code, the lack of rules almost seems to be a rule in itself.
Different places have different rules. UM, UKM and MMU do not have similar rules governing the Islamic covering of the aurah. But IIU does, and any student who applies and joins IIU does so with the explicit knowledge of those rules. In fact, all new students, Muslim and non-Muslims are required to take an oath upon joining the University that they will uphold those rules. Perhaps the lady who wrote to Lim Kit Siang was absent the day the oath was taken.