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Indonesia: Pageant contestant under fire for refusing to wear headscarf



A Miss Indonesia beauty contestant photo of Ratna Nurlia Alfiandini. (Ratna Nurlia Alfiandini’s Instagram page)

JAKARTA –- A contestant representing the devoutly Muslim Aceh province in the Miss Indonesia beauty pageant has been criticised for not wearing a headscarf, media reports said Monday. 
Ratna Nurlia Alfiandini's participation in the contest has not been approved by the Acehnese government, the Jawa Pos news website reported.
"We don't want the name of Aceh to be used by people who don't represent its values," provincial government spokesman Mahyuzar was quoted as saying.
"Aceh has no interest in a beauty contest and the like but since there is a contestant claiming to represent it, we have to make clear our stance so as not to create a polemic," said Mahyuzar, who like many Indonesians goes by one name.
Aceh is the only Indonesian province allowed to impose Islamic sharia law, as part of the central government's attempts to mollify desires for independence.
Jakarta signed a peace agreement with separatist rebels in 2005, ending decades of conflict that killed more than 15,000 people.
The Association of Pro-sharia Journalists of Aceh said Ms Alfiandini's participation in the pageant tarnished the image of the province, Jawa Pos said.
"Also we hear from the media that she is from Surabaya (in East Java province)," association chairman Muhammad Saman reportedly said.

Source: Bangkok Post, February 16, 2015

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