Archive for June, 2011

Burqa On Trial 6

According to a report in the media today, 20 June 2011, the woman who made a false complaint against police claiming racism because she was wearing a Niqab (burqa with eyes viewable rather than the full face covering mesh of the burqa) and was sentenced to 6 months gaol…. got off. Her appeal was upheld based on the fact that as she was wearing the niqab at the time she made the erroneous and false complaint… she can’t be properly identified. What a travesty!

This woman, Carnita Mathews, pulls the religion card right off the bat and makes serious allegations of misconduct against a police officer at a traffic stop. He records the conversation, unbeknownst to her and can thus defend himself. She gets given a six month sentence for her offence and so she should… and now she gets off because the prosecution can’t be 100% sure it was her making the complaint because of her niqab! Talk about being caught by the letter of the law rather than the intent.

I hope from now on every niqab wearing woman stopped by the police is taken to the police station and fingerprinted if she refuses to show her face to the officer. This is Australia, this is not a part of our culture and they are taking liberties with our tolerance. Make no mistake ‘they’ would not tolerate any divergence from ‘their’ law in ‘their’ country… but it seems Ms Mathews is a born here citizen. She is one of ‘ours’ so the usual xenophic but nonetheless accurate logic doesn’t hold. So given the niqab and burqa, as with the hijab (head scarf) being culture aberrations and not a prescribed religious must do, which culture does Ms Mathews claim dictates her wearing of this face covering? She is taking the piss as we say in the vernacular.

Fortunately the wearers of these garments are very much a minority in Australia, albeit a majority in specific areas.  While we tend to give the underdog the benefit of the doubt and a fair go, in this case I am very much in favour of reminding these people that many Australians do find it offensive and insulting to see this medieval and very foreign custom on our streets. When it ridicules and abuses our judicial system, when it makes a mockery of the notion of doing the right thing (unless you are a niqab/burqa wearer) then it needs to be stopped.

I am never in favour of banning anything outright unless there is an element of harm present. Perhaps in this matter there is as it will not be long before some yobbo assaults a woman wearing this garb and then hell breaks loose. If they wish to parade around like someone’s chattel that is their business. I prefer our women to be seen, heard and counted. They deserve that as they have suffered inequality in our society for too long. I hate the thought it is being prolonged by these few who still think this is a religious requirement. It isn’t. This is why I do not say ‘Muslim women’ or ‘Islam’. It is not about that religion but about the interpretation of parts of it by some, thankfully few. I would not be surprised if more Australian Muslims were amenable to outlawing the wearing of the niqab/burqa in public places, while driving and so on than insisted on it remaining.


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