Burqa ban

Is the Burqa Contrary to Western Values?

Denmark is the most recent European country to ban the burqa, a full-body covering of Islamic tradition.

This comes on the back of a surge of (mainly Islamic) refugees and the struggle to integrate them into Denmark’s western, welfare state society.

Western countries are increasingly prohibiting public use of the garment, citing integration and identification issues. Since 2011, Austria, Belgium and France, are among a handful of countries to legislate full or partial bans.

Should we ban it here in Oz?

Just like our friends in Europe, we too value freedom of expression and religion. It’s enshrined in our constitution.

But can we balance that with such norm-defying practices? Many opposed to the burqa complain that it is anti-women and even anti-Australian.

Now some Australian MPs are trying to push a ban. Pauline Hanson, leader of One Nation, is at the helm of the effort:

It’s time Australia moves in the same direction to remove this radical and suppressive garb.

More and more countries across the globe are banning the burqa, including Muslim nations.

And according to the Daily Telegraph, numerous Liberal and National MPs agree — albeit privately.

But does a ban impose on individuals’ rights?

Two major considerations here are free practice of religion and uninhibited individual expression.

First, the Koran — the central religious text of Islam — directs followers, male and female, to dress in modest fashion and not show ‘any parts of their bodies, except that which is necessary’.

The push for a ban could therefore be justified on security and identification grounds — it is simply necessary for faces to be visible.

Conservative north Queensland MP George Christensen recently retold a story of a woman trying to apply for a licence with a burqa on her head…how would authorities verify her identity if that were allowed?

You just can’t have a 21st Century interaction with 95% of your face covered…

But Amnesty International condemned the ban as a violation of women’s rights.

As the organisation’s Europe director Gauri van Gulik puts it:

Whilst some specific restrictions on the wearing of full-face veils for the purposes of public safety may be legitimate, this blanket ban is neither necessary nor proportionate and violates the rights to freedom of expression and religion.

If the intention of this law was to protect women’s rights, it fails abjectly. Instead, the law criminalises women for their choice of clothing and in so doing flies in the face of those freedoms Denmark purports to uphold.

 Who’s right?

While we’re serious about our ideals, a ban in the public sphere is necessary. The correct balance between security and individual freedom is tricky, but this custom flies in the face of our cultural norms.

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The Australian Tribune Editorial

The Australian Tribune Editorial

The Australian Tribune is an unorthodox news service. Your Australian Tribune editorial team deliver the unfiltered stories that could impact your daily life — political and economic stories you’re unlikely to get anywhere else. And we’re not afraid to step on some toes to do it. We are honest, conservative and never dull. We are an independent service, meaning we don’t answer to shareholders or outside advertisers. This helps avoid conflicts of interest that inhibit mainstream sources, which keeps our voice independent. The Australian Tribune is owned and operated by Port Phillip Publishing.
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Comments: 5

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  1. Burqa,
    This type of clothing has nothing to do with a religion. It is an insult to our intelligence when we are told of it being religious, therefore we have to tolerate it. It is a cultural custom, where women are forced into this repugnant situation. What is even worse, women will openly say that it is their own choice. A statement that flies directly into the face of Nature’s law, which allows to show off one’s beauty. Just check the eyes, when visible, of these women and estimate how much time and care is taken, to make her expression catchy.
    Amnesty Int. is in conflict with its own motto and should instead consider not only the true freedom of these women, but the freedom of the rest of 99.9% population who feel
    an imposition on their own freedom of not to have to confront such unwelcome sight.
    Can anyone imagine a child being strolled around and not being able to see its mother’s face, when in discomfort? How wide a blind spot do these women have while driving?
    How easy is it for traffic policeman to stope a vehicle and be confronted by a non “entity” of a driver? Add your own questions…
    L J

    1. TOTALLY AGREE WITH YOU ! BAN THE BURQA ! Tell AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL to go away and concentrate on ALL THE REAL ISSUES out there..but go away anyway !

    2. When was it ever acceptable for anyone in a civilized country to walk through a shopping center or enter a bank or other public place while wearing a full face motorcycle helmet or a balaclava?

  2. Absolutely it is just to please men, so where are the feminists? It is totally unnecessary in our Western world. If they want to cover their faces and bodies then go to the country that allows and wants it. Ban it.