"There are signs that anti-Muslim bigotry is now contaminating community harmony at large. This week Sikh Australians have said they are becoming targets of racial abuse. As happened following the attacks of September 11, innocent Sikh Australians are being mistaken for radical extremists because people are linking turbans to terrorism."So observes Australia's Race Discrimination Commissioner, Tim Soutphommasane, in the wake of the recent terror raids on a number of Muslim homes in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne and the presence of around sixty Australian Muslims among ISIS fighters.
Of course, such attacks are to be deplored, but the failure to distinguish Sikhs from Muslims is not restricted to racist rednecks, as the observation implies. This Facebook page created by Aussie leftists at the end of last month has, a less-than-impressed Sikh commenter points out, mistaken an historic photograph of a Sikh camel-driver in the Australian outback for a Muslim:
But I digress.
To quote from an ABC News report of today:
'A decision to force Muslim women who cover their faces to sit in a separate glass-enclosed public gallery in Federal Parliament has been slammed by Australia's Human Rights Commissioner.
Speaker Bronwyn Bishop and Senate President Stephen Parry have approved new interim rules at Parliament House applying to anyone wearing "facial coverings".
The Department of Parliamentary Services (DPS) said: "Persons with facial coverings entering the galleries of the House of Representatives and Senate will be seated in the enclosed galleries. This will ensure that persons with facial coverings can continue to enter the Chamber galleries, without needing to be identifiable."
The enclosed galleries are usually used by visiting school parties.
Senate President Stephen Parry told parliament that it was a "management measure in relation to .. control of the public galleries".
"If there is an incident or someone is interjecting from the gallery, which as senators would know happens from time to time, they need to be identified quickly and easily so they can be removed from that interjection," he said.
"Or if they are asked to be removed from the gallery - and we need to know who that person is so they cannot return to the gallery, disguised or otherwise."....
The new security controls also stipulate that anyone receiving a pass to enter the private areas of Parliament House will have to show photo ID.
"Procedures are in place to ensure that DPS Security manage any cultural or religious issues relating to this in a sensitive and appropriate manner," DPS said.
Senator Parry said "if people have a cultural or religious sensitivity in relation to this they will be given the privacy and sensitivity that is required in relation to that identification"....'
|A burqa in Oz: ABC News photo|
'Labor Senator Penny Wong [one of the top women in the ALP parliamentary Opposition] asked why senators had not been consulted, and Greens leader Christine Milne said it was "appalling"
They will be relegated to an area of the parliament which is usually reserved for schoolchildren - behind glass, where parliamentarians don't have to see or hear them," she said.'But not being seen by men – and after all the majority of members of Parliament are men – is the whole point of burqa-wearing, isn't it, Christine?
(O, the irony!)
I heard Christine Milne declare on Channel Nine News that in Australia nobody should be discriminated against: she was referring not to the misogynistic burqa but to that glass partition!
(O, the irony!)
To return to the ABC report:
'Independent MP Andrew Wilkie likened the rule to "religious apartheid" and said it was "deeply wrong".
"The decision by the Government to isolate, in their own rooms, burqa-wearers observing the Parliament has no security merit at all," he said in a statement."Religious apartheid"? Of those whose garments already symbolise religious apartheid from the kuffar?
(O, the irony!)
Race Discrimination Commissioner Tim Soutphommasane, who had been interviewed on ABC24 about the burqa earlier in the day by an accommodating anchor, tweeted:
("No one should be treated like a second-class citizen ..." O, the irony!
To quote Herald-Sun columnist Susie O'Brien:
'Face-obscuring Muslim burqas have no place in Australian society....
Experiencing the world from behind a piece of mesh is no way for any woman to live....
What does the burqa say about the women who wear them? I just don’t buy the line that they should be free to choose this form of clothing.
It’s not freedom for a woman to be totally covered up in public at the behest of a man, or a religion dominated by men.
It’s not freedom for her to be prohibited from freely interacting from those in the community around her.
I know that some defend the burqa as a symbol of religious freedom.
But this completely ignores the fact that the clothing itself is a symbol of the subjugation of Muslim women at the hands of Muslim men.
Let’s be very clear about this – the burqa is not a religious symbol mandated by the Muslim faith. If you don’t believe me, read the Koran. Rather, the burqa is a cultural symbol, rejected by many muslims.
We need to speak out about what the burqa represents.
But I don’t think a ban is the best way to do this.
A burqa ban would be extreme and would risk turning those who objected to the law into matyrs.
In Australia there are better ways to promote the genuine rights of Muslim women, and helping them find ways to become better integrated into our Western society is the place to start....
Besides, it’s not the women who should be singled out and punished. If anyone should be punished, it’s the fathers and husbands who force or coerce women into wearing burqas in the first place....
We don’t need to ban the burqa in Australia.
But it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t speak out against it and everything that it stands for.'Fellow Herald-Sun columnist Andrew Bolt, who terms these grotesque dehumanising misogynistic garments "shrouds of oppression", also abhors what they represent: male supremacy and the notion of women as sexual beings and as chattels of their husbands, but similarly opposes a ban.
Professor Phyllis Chesler, an American with first-hand experience of Islamic misogyny, has written a scholarly and absorbing account of the meaning behind the burqa, and (o, the irony!) attempts in the Islamic world itself to ban it, which makes a very powerful case for proscription and should be read and reflected upon by policy-makers and public alike.
'The same Islamists who subordinate women also publicly whip, cross-amputate, hang, stone, and behead human beings. Iran continues to execute women and men by stoning for adultery. The burqa reminds us of such practices. Many Westerners, including Muslims, ex-Muslims, and Christians, Jews, and Hindus who have fled Muslim lands, may feel haunted or followed when they see burqas on Western streets. Does their presence herald the arrival of Islamist supremacism?
Many Muslim governments know something that their Western counterparts are just learning. Covered women signify Islamist designs on state power and control of political, military, social, personal, and family life. Were these designs to be extended to the West, it will spell out the end of modernity, human rights, and the separation of state and church, among other things; in short, the end of liberal democracy and freedoms as now practiced.
Apart from being an Islamist act of assertion that involves clear security dangers and creating mental and physical health hazards, the burqa is a flagrant violation of women's most basic human rights. However, were the government to attempt to ban the burqa in the United States, a team of constitutional legal scholars would have to decide whether to follow the French ethnicity- and religion-neutral approach of no "face coverings," "face masks," etc., or whether to ban outright the public disappearance of women's faces and their subordination in the name of Islam as a violation of their civil rights.
It is impossible for Western governments and international organizations to prevent the acid attacks or honor killings of women in Muslim countries who refuse to cover their faces, but why tie society's hands on Western soil? Why would Western countries prize the subordination of women and protect it as a religious right at a time when many Muslim states refuse to do so? When it is understood that the burqa is not a religious requirement but rather a political statement—at best merely an ethnic and misogynistic custom—there is no reason whatsoever for Western traditions of religious tolerance to misconstrue the covering of women as a religious duty at a time when the vast majority of Muslims do not see it as such.'such an article, giving five reasons why the burqa should be banned.
1. The Burqa Covers Up Abuse
Countries where the Burqa is commonly worn also have higher rates of domestic violence. In Afghanistan 87 percent of women reported experiencing domestic violence. In Pakistan that number goes as high as 90 percent. Domestic violence is also a major problem in Saudi Arabia.
In cases of domestic abuse, the Burqa doesn’t just isolate the woman, it also covers up evidence of the abuse. It gives the abuser the freedom to brutalize his partner without worrying that anyone will even notice.....
2. The Burqa Justifies Sexual Assault on Women Who Don’t Wear It
n response to a gang rape, the Chief Mufti of Australia said, “If she was in her room, in her home, in her Hijab, no problem would have occurred.” By wearing the Burqa or Hijab, women participate in a narrative that gives rapists a pass for sexual assaults on women who don’t dress the way the Mufti or Imam says they should....
Banning the Burqa protects women who choose not to wear it from being assaulted because of their perceived immodesty.
3. Civic Participation
The essence of a modern society is that it extends civic participation to everyone. Deliberately preventing an entire gender from participating in society as identifiable individuals is an assault on the democratic character of the state....
The Burqa is designed to impede interaction outside the home. The failure to be recognized as an individual is dehumanizing and deprives women of their role in civic life.
Countries where the Burqa is in wide use, have low rates of female civic participation....
4. Segregation is Discrimination
Purdah segregates women at homes and the Burqa segregates them in public. While the authorities cannot interfere with what people choose to do in their own homes—the public wearing of the Burqa is a statement that women are unequal and must be segregated.
Such an attitude is an assault on the legal place of women in society. It imposes the norms of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia on the streets of Paris and London....
If radicals are prevented from making public statements about the inferiority of races, why should they be permitted to assert the inferiority of a gender.
“Men have authority over women because Allah has made the one superior to the other,” the Koran asserts. Replace ‘women’ with any race or religion, and a public assertion of such a thing would be cause for criminal proceedings.
Imposing the segregation of the Burqa on women in an assertion of a bigoted creed that dehumanizes an entire gender. While Muslims are free to believe what they do, a public display that dehumanizes women as a gender by treating their faces as obscene, is an intolerant violation of the norms of civil society.
5. The Wearing of the Burqa is Enforced Through Violence
....In 2003 a French survey found that 77 percent of girls who wore the Hijab did so because of threats. Women in the Muslim world have been punished by having acid thrown in their faces for not complying with similar demands. There is no way to break through this climate of coercion except by giving women and girls immunity from such demands by banning the source of it. The Burqa.
The Burqa also exposes women to blackmail and intimidation when they deviate from the standard of full body covering. There is a rising number of cases in which women and girls who posted Facebook pictures of themselves in normal clothes have been blackmailed and threatened for it.
As long as the Burqa remains a threat hanging over the heads of Muslim and non-Muslim women alike, no woman in Europe can truly be free from its implied threat to her person and her political freedoms.'There is also another argument in favour of banning a garment that is an affront to women, an argument that does not relate to the equality of the sexes or to the value and dignity of women, but to the health of the burqa-wearer's unborn children, owing to insufficient sunlight being absorbed through the covered mother's skin, with the consequent deprivation of sufficient quantities of vitamin D to ensure that her infants are rickets-free.