Cartoon: by R May
Australia’s wowser in chief, Fred Nile is having a second crack at banning the burqa, or at least preventing the covering of the face in public. He doesn’t mention the terms, burqa or Muslims in his bill and it will be interesting to see how this affects brides at traditional Christian weddings.
Fred is a man who knows what he hates and believes that all things he detests need to be prohibited via the auspices of the great and good benevolent state which, under his gentle guidance knows what is best for all of us.
He will though, allow us to wear ski masks in a blizzard, but only if it becomes fashionable:
He says the measures come at an "opportune" time after Wednesday's arrest in Queensland of two men allegedly linked to terrorist groups in Syria.
"We also face the new Islamic State (IS) terrorist threat, whose black uniforms for both men and women include face coverings to prevent identification," he told the upper house.Labor MP Amanda Fazio said the measures were "anti-Islamic" and had more to do with Mr Nile's bid for re-election in March. …
… Under Mr Nile's plan, a person who covers their face in public would face a $550 fine and a person who forces someone else to cover their face would be hit with a $1100 penalty.
The plan allows faces to be covered under certain conditions, such as during a parade or if "Sydney is suddenly hit by a blizzard and ski masks are the latest fashion", the MP said. …
… John Blaxland, an intelligence and security expert at the Australian National University, said authorities already had powers to ask for face coverings to be removed. He said Mr Nile's plan was unlikely to be supported by the security community. …
It is uncertain why the time is “opportune because of the arrest of two men with terrorist links.” None of the reports on the incident indicate that either of them was wearing a burqa at the time.
It is difficult to see this as anything other than an attempt to capitalize on anti-Islamic sentiment using their traditional dress as an excuse. We shouldn’t fall for the PC line that anti-terrorism measures are by nature anti-Islamic, (we have yet to see a Lutheran or Baptist suicide bomber) but banning religious symbols does nothing to improve our security.