After her husband cheated on her and filed for divorce, Indonesian celeb removes face veil for modeling career

Left: Inara Rusli wearing a niqab. Right: Video screengrab of Inara removing her niqab for her modeling career.
Left: Inara Rusli wearing a niqab. Right: Video screengrab of Inara removing her niqab for her modeling career.

Indonesian celeb Inara Rusli is trying to move on from her husband’s alleged infidelity, which became the talk of the nation, and that comes with a move that is controversial in Muslim-majority Indonesia.

Last month, the 30-year-old former singer spilled to the public the ways in which her husband, 36-year-old singer-songwriter Virgoun Tambunan, was unfaithful to her.

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In her confessions, Inara said that Virgoun made some strange requests from her during their marriage, such as asking her to remove her niqab (face veil) so he could show her off, even though she wore the Islamic garment as a form of devotion to him.

Although Inara wanted to stay with her husband for the sake of their three children, Virgoun, after admitting to the infidelity, went ahead and filed for divorce in early May.

Yesterday, Inara called a press conference to announce that she has been appointed brand ambassador for a beauty clinic named Athena, which is owned by renowned esthetician Richard Lee.

Though Richard did not make such a request, Inara removed her niqab to show that she is taking her new role seriously, as she is keen to be able to financially support her children.

“I wore this niqab in the name of Allah, and I removed it in the name of Allah,” she said.

Celebrity preacher Derry Sulaiman, who was by Inara’s side during the press conference, called on the public not to cast judgment on her, saying that wearing a niqab is not actually mandatory in Islam.

“Netizens, if you see Inara without her niqab, please don’t bully her because [bullying] is the actual sinful act,” he said.

“Inara” became a trending topic on Twitter in Indonesia today. Even though there were a few who shamed her, most were supportive of her decision to remove the niqab.

“How could she have worn the niqab and reviewed lipsticks? Niqabs are optional, and she is more concerned about her duty as a mother. Big hug,” one user wrote.

“Is Virgoun blind or something?” another remarked.

Inara, herself formerly a member of the girl group Bexxa, alleged that Virgoun has had a special relationship with a woman, identified by her initials TAA, since 2021. After she found out about TAA in August 2022, Inara made Virgoun sign a letter containing an admission of the affair and a promise to stay faithful from then on, a violation of which could see him reported to the authorities for adultery (which is illegal in Indonesia).

Virgoun evidently broke his promise, hurtling their marriage towards dissolution.



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