Burqa On Trial 5

Today a Sydney court sentenced a woman to six months imprisonment for swearing a false suit against a police office. She claimed he was racist and tried to remove her niqab (veil) after pulling her over. Unfortunately for her the whole thing was recorded on the video camera installed in the police car. She had almost immediately played the cliched ‘you’re a racist’ card, accusing the officer of being threatened by her wearing of the burqa. He was polite and calm the entire time and wanted her to show her face for ID purposes, which is completely reasonable, while she rips into him in a tirade of abuse and invective.

The officer could have been in serious trouble if he had not the video evidence to back up his denials of her complaint. Her defence barrister actually tried to say there was no way the police could prove it was his client who had sworn the complaint against the officer as she didn’t reveal her face under the veil then, either. Fortunately the judge found against her and gave her six months in gaol. Some members of the Islamic community said that was to make an example of her and I would agree. I also agree it is an example that must be made. While some now ask for compassion for  her and her seven children, she offered absolutely zero compassion to the police officer, his family or any consideration to his career when she smugly made her false claims.

The burqa is alien to our culture and way of life and I personally find it offensive when I see women dressed so on our streets. However, our society is a tolerant one and we tolerate these things but we can never show  any weakness to anyone, regardless of cultural group, religious persuasion or any other difference, attempting to pervert our justice system and make a mockery of our tolerance.

The woman’s surname, Mathews, and her Australian accent suggests to me she is a native born Muslim which begs the question of why she is choosing such a mode of dress which is cultural and not religious? She comes across as no different in attitude and demeanor than any other Australian woman despite the veil, so I would hesitate to stereotype her or any other burqa wearer as repressed or under the thumb of a male. So why the veil and why the anger at identifying herself to a police officer?

What really made me laugh was when she left court and was chased to a car by the media. Despite wearing a full burqa she bent at the waist and kept her head well down just like every other fugitive from the media one sees on TV, usually hiding under a blanket or coat. Why bother?

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