The Muslim Professionals Forum follows with interest the current debate on the ruling that requires non-Muslim female students at the International Islamic University as well as parliament staff to don the 'tudung'.
We agree with the objection to the ruling on parliament staff and commend the prompt intervention of parliamentary Speaker Ramli Ngah Talib.
However, the IIU ruling is a separate matter altogether. The autonomy of educational institutions to impose rules on the dress code for their students must be respected. The IIU is an Islamic academic institution. It would be most unusual not to expect a dress code that would reflect the teachings of Islam. For some 20 years, non-Muslim students who freely choose to enroll into any of its faculties knew this and duly complied with it.
Conversely, Muslim students who choose to have their education in government-supported mission schools must expect and comply with rules that they may not be comfortable with. This has nothing to do with fundamental human rights, of which there are aplenty if some are genuinely concerned about them.
Let us not politicise this issue and leave it to the wisdom of the university authority. Neither is this a polemic of whether the tudung is a measure of one's Islamic piety as some quarters are so apt to raise whenever such an issue arises.