One Nation Party leader Pauline Hanson says she will establish a state-wide ban on the burqa if her party wins influence in the Queensland state election, scheduled to be held in or before 2018.
Vowing that her party will do its best to “lead the way in Queensland,” Senator Hanson has set her sights on seeing that the burqa is banned in government buildings, banks and schools.
Six countries, including France, Italy and Russia, have placed bans on wearing the burqa in public. Others, such as the UK, and Germany, are in discussion about a possible or partial ban.
“We have some big plans and ideas, and you know what I’m going to do – we’re going to investigate it – ban the burqa in government buildings and banks and schools in Queensland," said Senator Hanson.
“No driver’s licences wearing the burqa or anything like that,” she said.
This is despite current Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads guidelines, which already ban facial coverings.
“If you wear headwear for religious reasons, it must be adjusted so that all facial features from the bottom of your chin to top of your forehead (including both edges of your face) are clearly shown,” states the government website.
The burqa is categorised as a religious veil with a mesh panel across the eyes to allow for vision, worn by a woman to cover the entire body and face.
In 2014, a ban on the burqa in Parliament House, Canberra, supported by Bronwyn Bishop and Stephen Parry, was reversed after criticism that it racially vilified those who wore it.
At the time, former prime minister Tony Abbott, who opposed a public ban of the burqa said, “We are free country, we are a free society and it’s not the business of Government to tell people what they should and shouldn’t wear.”
However, he then went on to say, “I find it a fairly confronting form of attire and frankly I wish it weren't worn… but I just want to stress that this [Parliament House] is a secure building and it should be governed by the rules that are appropriate for a secure building and obviously people need to be identifiable in a secure building such as this.”
As well as banning the burqa, the One Nation Party wants to see a ban on new mosque construction and a Royal Commission into Islam, which it states is not a religion but rather, a political ideology.
In Melbourne, Victoria’s multicultural affairs minister, Robin Scott took action in removing an Australia Day billboard featuring two women in hijabs, after threats were made to the company behind it.
The digital billboard, placed alongside a freeway, featured various images of people with different cultural backgrounds but had just one image of women wearing Muslim attire. However, hundreds of people criticised it for being overly politically correct.
“This isn’t a reflection of Australia Day, are we losing our own culture to be politically correct??,” one Sydney woman wrote on Facebook.
A 2011 report by ASIO for the Government says a burqa ban is unadvisable because it is likely to increase social tension and provide fuel for extremists.
“The security implications of any such ban are likely to be predominantly, if not wholly, negative,” the report states.
Read more at sbs.com.au
Read more at theguardian.com
Australia is considered one of the world’s most successful multicultural nations. As a consequence, this should make it one of the most open-minded in the world. Instead, this land of the ‘fair go’ is imprisoned by fear – trumped-up by the local and global media, which claims that diversity is something to fear rather than embrace.
As the online world continues to expand, connecting people across countries, cultures, religions and races via social media, our offline world is getting smaller. The internet has given rise to global communities. In other words, we can’t just say we belong to a particular country or that those within this country are our only people. This would be to seriously undermine our own potential to comprehend our world and grow as humans.
Yesterday, Senator Hanson posted this tweet:
It seems people don't realise the burqa is not a religious right it's an evil tool of OPPRESSION & an extreme national security risk #auspol— Pauline Hanson (@PaulineHansonOz) January 16, 2017
Apart from the unadorned prejudice revealed by this comment, there’s a complicated irony that’s unsettling. Putting aside the troubling idea of a “religious right”, the suggestion that the burqa is “oppressive” is ironic, given the policy that Senator Hanson’s party is pushing. The statement that the burqa is an “extreme national security risk” is neither here nor there, since burqas are unlikely to wander into a country and do any harm by themselves. Plus, ASIO’s research suggests that a ban on burqas is more likely to incite extremism rather than quell it.
There’s a final problem here that is not often addressed and that’s one of gender (yes, here we go). Burqas are traditionally and typically worn by women. Associating the burqa with religious extremism, by logic, associates the Muslim women who wear it with that same extremism. And for that, we have the media to thank. To ban the burqa would be to restrict the religious freedom of Muslim women – who might or might not have a choice in the matter of wearing one (but that isn’t an issue that seems to particularly concern Senator Hanson). It’s just a convenient diversion that she sometimes taps into to help support her prejudiced views.
And we can talk about national security, terrorists, oppression, political correctness, what being ‘Australian’ means, leftie feminists and Donald Trump until the cows come home, but Senator Hanson’s beliefs are prejudiced.
What do you think? Do you agree that banning the burqa would pose more of a risk to national security? If you support the ban, what are your reasons for doing so?
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