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Burqa Banning

  • Date Submitted: 12/12/2014 06:19 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 55.8 
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The burqa and niqab are often viewed as symbols of extremism. In the wake of the rise of Islamic State, it is unsurprising, therefore, that in recent days a number of Australian politicians have called for their banning.

Reverend Fred Nile has already introduced the Summary Offences Amendment (Full-face Coverings Prohibition) Bill 2014 (NSW) into the New South Wales parliament which, if passed, will ban the wearing of various face coverings in public. The Bill does not refer to Muslims, Islam, the burqa or niqab. Comments by Nile clearly indicate, however, that the law is designed to target Islamic face veils.

While the proposed ban, if passed, would affect only a small number of women, it would force them to make unenviable choice. Obey the law and deny their faith. Obey their faith and risk criminal charges. Stay at home and become isolated from the community.

Not one of the arguments Fred Nile makes for outlawing face veils stands up to scrutiny. AAP/Dean Lewins
Government senator Cori Bernardi and Palmer United Party senator Jacqui Lambie have also called for the burqa to be banned. In a tweet Bernardi linked recent raids on suspected terrorists to the burqa, claiming that burqa wearers had been found in several of the houses raided.

Nile made three arguments in support of his legislative ban. First, several European countries have banned face coverings in public or are considering such a ban. Second, criminals and terrorists can use face coverings such as the burqa and niqab to hide their identities. Third, women are forced to wear the Islamic face veil by their families and religion.

This is not the first time Nile has tried to ban face coverings. In 2010 and 2011 he unsuccessfully introduced similar Bills. There are two key differences between then and now: the handing down of the European Court of Human Rights’ decision on the French burqa ban and the rise of Islamic State.

In July this year, the European Court of Human Rights upheld...


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