Hijabs designed for cats, which cover the cat’s ears similarly to how the Islamic headscarves cover a woman’s hair, are becoming increasingly popular in Indonesia, the local outlet Coconuts reported on Tuesday.
Coconuts highlighted the existence of a Twitter account named @txtdarionlshop, which documents the bizarre world of online shopping. One of the items on sale is a sharia-compliant costume for cats.
The product is described as a “Ukhti character costume for cats,” a reference to the Arabic word commonly associated with modestly-dressed Muslim women. It is on sale for 85,000 Indonesian rupiahs, or about $6.
— txtdarionlineshop. (@txtdarionlshop) November 16, 2020
Customers so far appear to be happy with the product they ordered, leaving glowing reviews that average out at 4.7 stars out of 5:
“The costume has arrived, thank you. But I’m confused on how to put it on [the cat], please let me know.”
“IT’S SO FUNNY HAHAHAHA I really couldn’t stop laughing. The shipping was fast, the package arrived fast, the seller is nice, thank you!”
“The quality of the product is very good, an original product, the speed of shipping is nice.”
The store sells variants of the costume featured above, offering the same product in a flower pattern. Also on sale are costumes featuring superhero characters and a popular elementary school character.
The unusual range of products caught the attention of people on social media, one of whom asked if it would prevent their cat from getting pregnant out of wedlock.
Hijabs are commonplace in Indonesia, which remains the world’s largest Islamic country, with a population of around 225 million Muslims. Sharia, the Islamic law, requires that both men and women dress modestly, but does not mandate the hijab in particular. In Indonesia, hijabs are not legally mandatory outside of Aceh Province, which is governed by sharia as a result of an autonomy agreement signed in 2006 with the government of Jakarta.
Despite Indonesia not imposing Islam on its citizens as a matter of law, the country remains a relatively repressive place due to its Islamic traditions. Over the past few years, the country has recorded numerous examples of religious overreach, including arresting a man who recorded a joke Tiktok video that made it appear as if a mosque was playing dance music, a Muslim group rebranding Valentine’s Day as “Indonesia Without Dating Day,” and police carrying out “condom raids” on New Year’s Eve to prevent sexual relations.
Muslim groups have even expressed concern about hijabs in improper contexts. Last year, a group of men were caught crossdressing in hijabs, leading to protests from Muslim groups concerned that it could lead to them entering places reserved especially for women.