An Indonesian YouTuber has caught flak after she was accused of harassing other women into following her strict religious dress code.
A woman, who brands herself as a conductor of “social experiments” on her YouTube channel, regularly puts out content for her 211 thousand subscribers in which she approaches other women in public before trying to convince them to cover up modestly in accordance with her interpretation of Islamic standards. The woman herself wears hair and face coverings in all of her videos.
The Islamic “white knight” became a major topic of discussion in recent days after a Twitter user reposted a video in which she appeared to harass a woman in “sexy clothing” in Yogyakarta. In the video, the YouTuber tried to convince the woman to put on a hijab even before she knew what her religion was.
After she ascertained that her target was indeed a Muslim, the YouTuber continued to insist that she should cover up and warned her about God’s wrath if she doesn’t. The woman was visibly uncomfortable throughout the encounter.
While that video has been removed from the YouTube channel, dozens more like it are still available. Despite her unsolicited preaching about modesty, the YouTuber seems to be keen on exploiting her targets’ sexual appeal for clicks by consistently highlighting their sexiness in her videos.
The YouTuber identifies herself as the founder of an Islamic youth movement based in Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara (NTB). She appears to produce her content with her husband.
Amid public outrage towards her content, the YouTuber posted an attempt at an apology on Instagram today.
“I apologize for the viral news that has been reported by the media, which is still unverified. Tomorrow, there will be a clarification from us and it will be posted on our channels the next day,” she wrote.
The YouTuber certainly is not in short supply of defenders, who argue that she is merely preaching the rules of Islam. Some have even accused her critics of Islamophobia.
Among the cooler heads that are standing out in the debate includes Islamic news site Islami.co writer Ifa Mualifa, who wrote in her column that forcing other women to wear the hijab is not virtuous behavior and that “Islam recommends that [adherents] race [each other] in doing good deeds, not race to force others into doing good deeds.”