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Ban the White Sheets Before You Even Consider Banning The Burqa!

There are times when I like to take a step back and consider things from a fresh perspective.

Not being able to see someone’s face is a security risk, the argument goes, so we should ban the burqa from Parliament. We’re not being anti-Muslim, the argument goes, we just want to be safe.

So I step back and consider this for a second. Why the mention the burqa specifically? After all, given the general ignorance about what constitutes a burqa, would we have people arguing for entry rights on the grounds that they’re actually wearing a niqab? But if not being able to see someone’s face is a concern, why not simply make it a requirement that anyone entering the Parliament needs to have their face exposed? No motor-cycle helmets, no balaclavas, no masks, no outlandish make-up and certain members of the Coalition would be banned from wearing their Klan white sheets while entering. (Yes, I know that no member of the Coalition has ever actually entered wearing a white sheet, but how many burqa-clad women have entered in the past year?)

Ok, this would prevent people who are wearing the burqa from entering, but then it becomes more about the perceived security risk from anyone covering their face rather than suggesting that Parliament is particularly threatened from someone in a burqa. That way it’s less discriminatory and more like being excluded from a night club because you’re wearing the wrong shoes.

Now, I suppose some of you are thinking, I’m being a little superficial there and that it’s still discriminatory and many of you may want to argue that people wearing the burqa have a right to go wherever they wish, but, at least then we’ll be arguing in a general way about whether customs or beliefs should give one an exception, rather than the implied suggestion that a Muslim woman with her face covered is more threatening than an armed man in a balaclava.

But it’s the whole idea that not being able to see someone’s face makes that person a greater threat to security that I find most absurd when I take a step back.

Let me try and put myself in the shoes of a terrorist. (Yes, I know that’s rather dangerous in Abbott’s Team Australia, but I always remember the wise words of the person who said that if you find someone offensive you should always try to walk a mile in their shoes – that way you’re a long way away from them with an extra pair of shoes!)

Imagine I want to launch an attack on Parliament. (This is hypothetical, Mr ASIO agent, but, hey, it’s always good to have another reader, I hope you enjoy my blog. :D) So, would I get someone who looked like a fundamentalist Muslim, or someone who could blend into the crowd so that security wouldn’t even give them a second look? Logic dictates that you wouldn’t want the person to stand out too much.

Ok, ok, terrorists aren’t very bright. I’ll give you that. Which, of course, brings me to my next point. What are we frightened this woman (or man) in a burqa will do?

If we’re worried that she is concealing a placard saying, “Seeking asylum is not a crime” then I can understand the concern. The security checks may not pick up something that threatening that has no metal in it and she may even get away with it for a couple of minutes before one of the Coalition MPs capable of reading notices and tells the independent Bronwyn Bishop to order her ejection.

However, if it’s something more sinister, what would she be able to do thanks to that burqa?

Smuggle in a weapon and open fire? In which case I don’t imagine the security officers issuing the command: “Don’t shoot till you see the whites of her eyes. Oh no, she’s wearing a burqa – we’re all doomed.”

Similarly, if we imagine her as a suicide bomber, then it hardly seems likely that the police will need a good description, if she were to be successful.

Yep, no matter how I look at it, I can’t see any need to specifically ban the burqa. But I’m always open to changing my mind when confronted with evidence. Has someone collected statistics on how many violent crimes have been committed in Australia by women wearing burqas? If so, please let me know.


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  1. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    I know I’m risking condemnation by the people who I probably care most about politically and they are the fair-minded, left-leaning, egalitarian, inclusionist people in our wide community.

    However, one dimension that appears to be forgotten or ignored in this debate about whether burqas should be allowed or not, is the feminist position.

    I am a feminist and Australian born. I have never been told I must keep my face hidden because of modesty. Thank goodness. I have lived In Australia all my life bar a year or two when travelling overseas.

    Our Australia is multi-cultural and proudly so. We traditionally have believed in giving people a fair go no matter where they have come from. That addresses the racist dimension.

    Equally, I want the gender dimension addressed as well.

    Regardless of whether some religions and/or cultures believe modesty means a woman’s face must be covered in public, I don’t. Not because I’m being mean and nasty. It’s because I believe the woman has the right to be known and to have her identity known by us – and not hidden.

    Burqas deny women the right to their identity in the public forum and that is not what Australia is about.

    So, when I hear debate about whether burqas are good or bad, safe or scary, I say they deny women true equality in our Australia that prides itself on democratic rights to equality.

  2. Anne Byam

    Jennifer …… that is a very interesting and well considered ‘other side to the argument’.

    In most parts I agree. The burqa does indeed deny women true equality – but ONLY in a country that prides itself on democratic rights to equality ( using your words there ).

    Problem is, many Muslim women simply do not see it that way. It is generations of indoctrination for them – and cannot be swept away because they live somewhere other than their country of almost total Muslim population. Those women simply would not see it the way we might see it …….. They simply don’t. They are used to being covered head to foot ( whether we like the idea or not ) and will continue to do it. What then of the ‘medium Muslim woman’ ( for want of a better description ) who wear simply a head scarf, wrapped ingeniously around their often very beautiful faces. ( I have tried the scarf bit – can’t get it to work for me ).


    However, in matters of security – ( whether terrorism rears it’s ugly head or not ) …. the burqa could well hide something very sinister. Like a person intent on instilling intense fear into the public – be it man or woman behind the burqa …. to get a response – or to kill……… for whatever reason.

    There are nutters out there unfortunately, who will take advantage of opportunity to indulge in mayhem and chaos. People who prey on others fears and frailties, for their own sick thrills. Admittedly, not many – but one is one too many. They need not be of any particular race or religion. They just have to be off the planet, psychologically and personally.

    A few years back, when Banks actually were places to go to DO banking ( unlike out in the street at an ATM now-a-days ) …. notices were well displayed that a motor bike rider could not enter the premises with a helmet on. I don’t recall anyone EVER seeing reports of anyone disagreeing with that rule, or bucking it. It was done for very good reasons – CCTV surveillance being one, and recognition / description, being another.

    If no-one is to enter a bank ( for security reasons ) with their head covered, I have to say that literally means NO-ONE, I cannot see the Banks employing Muslim women to stand watch at a door, with a little private room where they could view the woman’s face behind the burqa and then giving the thumbs up that all is well ? Can anyone envisage that ?

    Perhaps, it is up to the Muslim women who wear the full burqa, to enlist the help ( and thereby trust ) of someone whose head is not covered … someone of another faith or standing ( like a dinkum Aussie ) …. to do their banking for them. Mind you, most likely 99% of them do their banking on line these days, so the problem may never arise. But I think it is fair enough to ask that heads be uncovered in security conscious places. That being said, how many burqa clad women have ever wanted to enter the building of Parliament. ??

    I very strongly object to the Abbott’s bumbling words about him ‘finding the burqa somewhat confronting – or of confronting attire’. ??? I think that’s what he said. Why the HELL would he, could he say such a ridiculous thing. Ah ha …. maybe just to keep the pot boiling – to keep us all ‘wary’ of the Muslim population. He had no need to put it in such words. Bumbling nincompoop he is.

    He is managing more and more, each day as he worships the microphone, to show how inept and weak he really is.

  3. gry

    Banning the burqa chosen by women is just another denial of their autonomy and identity imo. Muslim Australian women don’t have to wear it; it’s already illegal to force someone to dress a certain way or detain them. We should support them, and any women, fleeing domestic violence and oppression on any pretext, religious or otherwise (too bad the Liberal party are closing women’s shelters). Instead of making generalisations based on radicalised Muslims fighting on the other side of the world, like I could make about Xtian based on the immoral Old Testament and African Xtian extremists who still stone people, how about some respect for these women’s right to religious freedom? I agree if burqas are to be banned it should be for a legitimate security reason and because they cover the face, and all other coverings ought be included, and not because they’re Muslim and we wrongly think all Muslims are terrorists waiting to happen.

  4. Trish (@Trish_Corry)

    Hi Jennifer. I am a liberal feminist (old school). Liberal feminism is about freedom, mostly through regulation and enforcing societal norms. I would also describe myself as what they call these days as sex positive feminist, which contains a very strong view that women should be allowed to wear what they please. My argument from my feminist perspective is that it is up to the women to determine and use their voice if they feel oppressed and from that point we could advocate this change. Women can give other women support to speak out as well; however, I have read many accounts where these women state it is their choice and do not feel oppressed. Who am I, as a western white woman to speak for these women who choose to cover their faces? I am also Australian and I have never been told to cover my face, however, this is a multi-cultural society and we should have grown up in a country that respects all cultures and traditions.

    You say that it is the woman’s right to have her identity known in this country – My answer if you want the woman’s identity to be known, go up and say “Hi, my name is…. what is yours” When I was younger (about 7 or 8) and I was witness to racist name calling and stereotypes, I found it very distressing. I used to think, what if no one could see colour? It would mean everyone would be the same. There would be no reason to call other people names, or say they can’t do this because of what they look like, or they have this attitude because of what they look like. I have carried a similar thing with me through life. It is the behaviours and actions of people that makes me fear them or love them, regardless of what they look like.

    The other point from a feminist perspective is that the way women dress can pigeonhole them into stereotypes. If a girl wears a skimpy skirt, she is labelled, If a woman is fat, she is labelled, if a woman is too thin, she is labelled, if a woman is a fitness junkie, she is labelled. One of the reasons (to my understanding) is that women who wear a burqa actually see this as a symbol of equality (they are not labelled for what they wear and particularly male advances that are not wanted.)

    Feminism is essentially underpinned by a woman’s agency. If these women have a choice to wear this garment in a western country, and state they do not feel oppressed, but it is their way to respect their culture, we should respect that. To tell them not to wear it and force that regulation on them, would be to take away agency and voice for these women.

    We should be concentrating a lot more on the atrocities women face under the current Asylum seeker policy rather than the wearing of the burqa. An excerpt from one of my previous blog posts is:

    In a journal article published in the journal of Refugee studies, “Marginal Women, Marginal Rights: Impediments to Gender-Based Persecution Claims by Asylum-seeking Women in Australia”, McPherson et. al (2011) have identified two barriers to women’s claims of Gender Based Persecution: Emergence Barriers, and Assessment Barriers. Emergence Barriers speak to the factors impeding articulation of a claim. Although the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship has responded to the authors of this journal article, the following were not addressed:

    Women applicants should systematically be interviewed separately from their spouse and should be allocated a female case officer, interviewer and interpreter.
    Case officers should receive training and advice, from appropriately qualified staff working in the women’s violence services or refugee trauma support services, to help them understand the psychological effects of trauma, and its links to non-disclosure.
    Every negative decision should be independently reviewed by a second officer or panel.
    Applicants should be systematically informed, from the outset, that asylum requests may be based on claims of GBP.
    This article also highlights that

    “The bases upon which clients of our interviewees made asylum claims included sex slavery, rape, sexual abuse and attack, fear of honour killings, female genital mutilation, domestic abuse, emotional abuse, one-child policies, discrimination due to sexual orientation or feminist political activism, children being under threat, general religious restrictions on women, sexual harassment, denial of education, forced marriages, slavery, trafficking, and imprisonment” (p. 331)

    To debate about whether women wear the burqa or not, seems trivial when women are being held in detention, unfavorably treated and discriminated against during processing and/or sent back to face these atrocities by our Govt.

  5. Lee

    If one wants to commit a crime in Parliament House, one is more likely to succeed whilst wearing a hi-vis vest. I’ve got one for geocaching and it works a treat.

  6. Lee

    “Regardless of whether some religions and/or cultures believe modesty means a woman’s face must be covered in public, I don’t. Not because I’m being mean and nasty. It’s because I believe the woman has the right to be known and to have her identity known by us – and not hidden.”

    Why are you determining the identity of a woman based solely upon the appearance of her face?

  7. mars08

    Another day… another not-so-subtle dog whistle…

  8. stephentardrew

    The amount of damage done to society by greed infested banks; unethical lying politicians; the military industrial complex; an out of control financial sector riddled with lobbyists; global warming denialism; denigration of science; the way refugees are treated and so on makes women’s right to wear whatever they like pail into insignificance. Lets get afraid of a bit of clothing while wreaking havoc upon the environment. Just another way to deflect from the really substantial issues at hand. Get people to resent someone so their minds are compelled by anxiety and fear while hiding behind the most egregious policies. We really know what’s important don’t we. That we even have to have this conversations demonstrates how far we have strayed from true values of democracy. It is a dumb argument. I do appreciate the dynamics of abuse and strategies required to provide protection for women expressed by Trish but they are merely practical matters of women’s right to protection regardless of who they are. Why the hell do we fill our heads with this crap. We have to draw a line between acceptable risk and democratic rights. Brandis and his ilk, left and right, have just undermined our democratic rights through fear of the few by condemning the many to unwarranted intervention in their lives. When the hell is the line between democracy and totalitarianism going to be clearly drawn so we can be sure we stand by the true tenants of democracy, justice and equity.

    Keep the populace afraid and instill fear in ourselves just to compromise people’s legitimate freedoms. Fearful politicians scared of negative consequences rather than expressing clear support for human rights. Where the hell is our courage to stand by clearly demonstrable democratic values of a considerate society. Must we all become fearful whips in the face of a few madmen. I refuse to be cowered by a bunch of maniacs.

  9. rossleighbrisbane

    It was once argued that the bra was a symbol of male oppression. Many would argue that make-up oppresses women. Should such things be banned?

  10. Kaye Lee

    Yes makeup should be banned. The amount of money wasted on “beauty products” globally each year would go a long way towards eliminating hunger. Our daughters are made to feel inadequate if they don’t look like a supermodel. The damage we do to adolescent self-image is shameful, and not just to girls, boys also have unrealistic expectations placed on them about how they should look. Painting yourself does not make you a better person. I hear the argument all the time that I will “feel better about myself” if I go get my hair done. CRAP I say. I don’t walk around with a mirror in my hand all day. I can’t see myself so I would be doing it for other people’s benefit, not mine. I feel good about myself when I help other people.

    (Sorry for the off topic rant)

  11. Zathras

    Sure, ban the burqa – but to be consistent we should also ban people from dressing up as Santa Claus and those WWF collectors in their full-body koala suits.

  12. mars08

    A few years ago my daughter… who is not the “ideal” beanpole shape, felt oppressed and confronted by those silly ultra low-cut jeans that were fashionable at the time among her peers. That was not the first (or last) time she has felt uncomfortable because of the clothes worn by her Australian sisters.

    But, through it all, my daughter has simply worn whatever she wants (or could)… without wanting to deny others the same right.

  13. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Simply stated, this is my general response to the assorted comments above. We all seem to agree that it is the woman’s right to agency that matters. Did I imply otherwise?

    That is my key point. It is the woman’s right to be known. It is also my right in my society as another woman to live within a wider multicultural framework that accepts basic norms of equality.

    I am well aware that some women say it is their human right to wear the burqas and yes their desire to wear them comes from cultural conditioning in the intensely patriarchal societies from where they come. Just because those societies developed such repressive cultural expectations, that does not authorise the same expectation in Australia.

    I am offended when I have sexually explicit advertising pushed in my face of unclad women’s bodies. This is another form of inequality where women or girls are objectified because of their sex.

    I see the burqa as the inequality at the other end of the spectrum where protection of a woman’s identity is so extreme, it allows no expression of what that woman may express in her public environment. (Ofcourse, I’m referring to facial expression.)

    I am not opposed to the various beautiful head scarfs I see on different denominations of Muslim women. Hijabs are fine too. I am impressed with the many colourful and expertly arranged hijabs I see on women and girls.

    It is only the burqas and any other form of face covering that denies an interaction between the woman and the community that concerns me.

    Bottom line is I do not want an Australia where there is a permeation of more cultural restrictions on women and girls with regards to their rights to self-expression now and into the future.

  14. Almost Fit

    We need to go much further than just banning the burqa.
    One of Australia’s most precious resources are our waterways. It must be made mandatory that all men entering a waterway must wear budgie smugglers. All manner of dangerous goods could be concealed in elaborate swimwear. This is a matter of national security. Terrorist swimmers could cripple our water supply.

    Sure some males may experience some social discomfort, but if they are not willing to fit in, they should get out.

  15. Kaye Lee

    Disneyland should be closed down – who can tell who Donald Duck REALLY is? Football mascots should be banned because we all know that the football is a scary place, or they wouldn’t keep telling us to be alert. And who can tell who is behind the catcher’s mask at a baseball game.

    And Almost Fit….it won’t only be the males experiencing social discomfort if we make budgie smugglers compulsory! The image of a hairy leering PM in speedos is seared into my mind and it is not a good thing.

  16. Vicki

    My only argument against the burqa is purely personal. I am deaf and get by with hearing aides. If I cannot see a person’s face I cannot pick cues that will guide in matching what my ears hear and the meaning in the speech. Hope that makes sense. In order to ‘get the message’ I need to see facial and eye expression (yes even sunglasses, in particular, reflecting sunglasses, and beards and moustaches inhibit my ability to ‘hear’) in order to follow conversation.
    Even before I needed to wear aides I was always disadvantaged unless the person speaking was in front of me with no ‘obstacles’ between us. Imagine that in a school situation.
    So I would argue for the burqa to be removed in situations where the person is dealing direct with the public.
    Feminism? If they live in Australia there is no legal or religious compulsion to wear the garment so it is up to the ladies themselves to decide and good on them whichever way they choose.

  17. John Campen

    I have lived over seas and have been working in Asia and Middle East for nearly 15 years. Because Malaysia and Indonesia are Muslim countries they attract a lot of Middle Easter Muslim tourists.

    Now in all of the 15 years I have lived here I never once seen a woman in Malaysia or Indonesia wearing a Burqa as depicted in the photo on this post and in the media, let alone have ever seen them worn in Australia.

    These photos are used for the shock factor which is wrong and is simply a manipulation by the media. What we do see though is the women mostly from Saudi Arabia wearing all black with their faces covered with a veil and only their eyes visible.

    In both Malaysia and Indonesia airports and government buildings etc, they have the facilities to cater for this by offering to do the security checks where these women can choose to go into a booth and lift their veils to show their faces to a female security officer. Very often these women don’t even bother with the booths and will lift their veil at the immigration passport checks anyway.

    My point here is rather than making big media issue on this, its a simple task to put in a few added security measures to cater for this anyway. As it is, I bet you cant walk into parliament anyway with a full face helmet on without being asked to take it off.

    And why isn’t this just an internal measure put in place by the parliament house security office anyway rather than it has to be voiced on the floor by Tony Abbots team of clowns?

    Why isn’t this added security measure quietly done and done in a way to show we cater to all Australians regardless of their beliefs?

    The simple answer is this is divisively spewed throughout the media and done to cause paranoia and to distract Australians from the real issues going on with this terrible government. Nothing more and nothing less.

    The very sad fact though is this is putting out a message that any Australian woman who is a Muslim and wants to be a part of her countries parliament, she will not be welcome to do so and still maintain her religious beliefs. Its akin, and reeks of the White Australia policy and back handed racism.

  18. Kaye Lee

    Credlin wants the ban so it will happen. What she wants she gets. I am getting VERY sick of seeing Credlin sitting at the table with world leaders. I would prefer to see experts in trade, diplomacy, law, science, security, climate change, cultural differences etc sitting next to our PM advising him than this unelected, unqualified political beast who seems to feel she has a right to dictate policy in my country and to decide who should get what job and who should attend what conference. She is far more dangerous in my mind than anyone wearing a burqa.

    “Fairfax Media revealed on Wednesday Mr Abbott’s most senior adviser, Peta Credlin, had told backbench MP and burqa critic George Christensen she also supported a ban in Parliament. Mr Christensen and South Australian senator Cory Bernardi have led the push to ban the garment in Parliament House.

    Rather than hauling the duo into line, Mr Abbott said he found the burqa a “fairly confronting form of attire and frankly I wish it weren’t worn”.

    Read more:

  19. Michael Taylor

    How could it be a security issue when all visitors to Parliament House go through a metal detector anyway? Besides, a knife or a gun would be much easier to hide in a jacket than it would a burqa.

  20. Kaye Lee

    Abbott finds burqas confronting, he finds gays confronting, he finds feminists confronting…hell he even found the kids from Newtown High confronting. He finds the Australian public so confronting he won’t man up to speak to us on Q&A. He finds climate change conferences so confronting he refuses to attend. He does as Credlin, Murdoch and Pell tell him to. What a sorry excuse for a leader.

  21. John Fraser


    Hats (caps) are banned in the Woolworths owned pokie joint I go to due to "security" issues and it has been so for about 10 years …. not a Muslim "lone wolf" issue.

    Section 116 of the Australian Constitution ….. " precludes the Commonwealth of Australia (i.e., the federal parliament) from making laws for establishing any religion, imposing any religious observance, or prohibiting the free exercise of any religion. Section 116 also provides that no religious test shall be required as a qualification for any office or public trust under the Commonwealth."

    This car bombing (27/3/86) was carried out by …. not a Muslim, not a "lone wolf" ……… just our everyday Aussie criminal :

    The very first thing the Channel 10 Anchor say …. "It's happened ! Terrorism hits melbourne, with 6 bombs …..".

    If people want to argue against the burqa (or any other religious (?) idolatry) then they should walk all the way down that street and argue for a secular Australia.

  22. Terry2

    Tanya Plibersek had the best come back to Abbott’s comments about finding the Burqa confronting.

    ” I’d prefer if Mr Abbott didn’t get about in his speedos, but it’s a free country ”

    Go girl !

  23. easterntrisha

    I remember growing up seeing Catholic nuns in full habit – which in hindsight look something like a burqa. (And now that I think of it, Italian mammas wore black headpieces when in mourning). It never occurred to me that they shouldn’t wear it. It was clear to me that the nuns had chosen this as part of their personal spirituality. All issues of catholic sexism aside, we didn’t find this offensive or threatening (and possibly still don’t). If we don’t find the Catholic Nun’s Habit offensive, but we do find the burqa a problem, then it suggests to me that its a cultural/racial issue rather than a feminist one.

  24. Maree Elizabeth

    jennifer myer smith Im with you.. you are spot on.

  25. Kaye Lee

    A Muslim prayer centre in Brisbane’s south has been vandalised with anti-Islam graffiti.

    The words “die” and “Muslims are evil and have no respect for our ways” werepainted on the Indonesian community mosque in Rocklea, The Brisbane Times reports.

    “Get the f*** out of our country” was also sprayed on the mosque walls.

    A cross accompanied the graffiti.

    Facebook posts…..

    “Early last week in the early evening A sister (was walking home) when a few guys came upon her and tried to burn off her hijab… She was a international student and is now wanting to go back home due to feeling traumatised and insecure.”

    “Two days ago, a group of men tried to rip the hijab off a sisters head at Garden City.”

    “Yesterday at 5pm, a sister from Logan was threatened by a guy that he would burn her house down.”

    “I was walking and a middle-aged white man started screaming at me… I carried on walking he shouted louder ‘you in the black tent… I told you that your prophet Muhammad’s a pig. What are you going to do or say?’”

    Australian Muslim mother-of-four Dania Sibai told Mamamia after the London bombings she was told by passers-by to remove her hijab.

    “I had my car spat on while waiting at a light, and I had people hurl abuse at me,” she said.

    “Then when the Cronulla riots occurred I got called a terrorist and told to go back home. I was called a bloody Muslim, I had a guy hang out his window swearing at me while we were at the lights and my then four-year-old got so scared he started to cry.”

    The local shopping mall where my parents live has become so scary for Muslim women that a group of Muslim men have offered to do their shopping for them or chaperone these women through the mall. Just let that sink in for a second. Muslim women have faced so much aggression in a Western Sydney mall, that they need chaperones. In Australia.

    why should I have to be concerned for my safety in the streets of Australia because of my religious beliefs?

    Why should my family have to consistently call me to make sure that I haven’t been attacked on the way to work?

    Why should I have to stop going on my early morning walks for fear that someone will attack me under the cover of dusk?

    Why should I require a chaperone in my very own homeland?

    Why should I worry about threats from groups like the Australian Defence League, that just a week before the anti-terror raids threatened a second Cronulla-style riot?


    This must stop. Under the guise of defending ourselves we are persecuting our own innocent people for the actions of others. Tony’s manipulation of fear for political gain must not be allowed to continue.

  26. mars08

    Jennifer Meyer-Smith:

    I am well aware that some women say it is their human right to wear the burqas and yes their desire to wear them comes from cultural conditioning in the intensely patriarchal societies…

    I have a right to expose my man-boobs on public transport.

    But, because of cultural conditioning, upbringing etc, my choice is to cover up. I notice that some (younger) males in our country take the other option. That’s their choice, cased on their (mainly cultural) reasons.

    Jennifer Meyer-Smith, I hope you can respect my choice… irrespective of the influences behind it. I don’t need you to emancipate me.

    John Campen:

    I have lived over seas and have been working in Asia and Middle East for nearly 15 years. Because Malaysia and Indonesia are Muslim countries they attract a lot of Middle Easter Muslim tourists.

    Now in all of the 15 years I have lived here I never once seen a woman in Malaysia or Indonesia wearing a Burqa as depicted in the photo…

    Oh… that’s true. But take a stroll down Jln Bukit Bintang at the height of “Arab Season” and I’d be very surprised if you didn’t see and Arab tourist in a burqa… often with a pair of Adidas or Nike joggers peeking out from the bottom!! But that’s fine… nobody gives them a second glance…

  27. Joe Eisman

    Rossleigh suggests ‘no outlandish make-up’ on people entering Parlt House. Is this implying that the Speaker of the House should be denied entry?

  28. kerrilmail

    On the 11th of September 2001 eleven men in four separate aircraft committed an act of terrorism that resulted in the death of over 3,300 innocent people.
    Not one of them was wearing a burka!
    The hijackers, not the innocent people, although some of the innocent people may have been wearing a burka but I couldn’t find data for that!

  29. rethink911

    “On the 11th of September 2001 eleven men in four separate aircraft committed an act of terrorism that resulted in the death of over 3,300 innocent people.”


    there has never been a proper transparent unfettered independent investigation to scrutinise these allegations… still, probably due to the fact there is absolutely no evidence to support any of it that can withstand the slightest scrutiny.

  30. Lee

    There’s a video doing the rounds on Facebook at the moment featuring an interview with Reza Aslan. He makes the point that in some Muslim majority nations, women are regarded as equal to men. It is recommended viewing, as it challenges some of our commonly held beliefs about Islam. What Reza is saying suggests that Muslims don’t see the burqa as demeaning women. The behaviours demeaning women are connected with the culture in a geographical region and not common to all Muslims.

  31. Jimhaz

    [the very sad fact though is this is putting out a message that any Australian woman who is a Muslim and wants to be a part of her countries parliament, she will not be welcome to do so and still maintain her religious beliefs]

    I do not find that sad in any way. I do not want someone who believes in such an extremely backward religion in parliament in the first place.

    In Aust I would say about 1/4 of women who do were the full burka are doing so purely as an act of petty vengeance against the west – they do it because we don’t like it. A third do so because they enjoy the privacy and the rest because it is habitual and expected.

    I’m all for banning the burka in public.

  32. Kaye Lee

    “In Aust I would say about 1/4 of women who do were the full burka are doing so purely as an act of petty vengeance against the west – they do it because we don’t like it. A third do so because they enjoy the privacy and the rest because it is habitual and expected.”

    Is that one of those gut instinct type of feelings like John Howard and Maurice Newman use to discount climate science? Is it from personal knowledge surveying the Muslim women you know? Is it from published research?

  33. Lee

    “Senator Lambie told Ms Abdo that she wanted the burqa banned because it was important to know if it was a man or a woman underneath the garment.”

    Read more:

    Ha ha ha! Hey even without a burqa I have great difficulty determining the gender of some people in our society.

    I’d support a ban of Senator Lambie.

    BTW, the poll now stands at 61% for no. 😉

  34. Lee

    Take a look at the hate speech on Facebook on a page called Take back Australia.

    We reviewed your report of Take back Australia

    Thank you for taking the time to report something that you feel may violate our Community Standards. Reports like yours are an important part of making Facebook a safe and welcoming environment. We reviewed the Page you reported for harassment and found that it doesn’t violate our Community Standards.

  35. John Campen

    @mars08. out of those 15 years I have lived in Asia,10 of them are in Malaysia and never once have I seen a Burqa, even in Bukit Bintang walk . I spend a lot for time in Indo, the most populous Muslim democratic country on the planet as well, and have never seen them there either. Tony Abbot is just using all this bull5hit to terrorise the public. And the sad thing is its working. Its Shamefully!! I’m so ashamed of Australia I’m thinking of jumping in a boat and heading off to seek asylum in NZ.

  36. MIssPamela

    The Burqa is seldom worn in Australia. The Niqab is, and that is what most people here refer to as a “Burqa”.
    Very clearly explained in the following:*/0Bys-EADWAda3LUtZSzVXMlpheE0?h=16653014193614665626&e=view
    I would hazard a guess that no one wearing a Burqa has ever tried to enter Parliament House? I would be surprised if many / any wearing a Niqab had entered or tried to enter.
    I would personally agree that I would like to ban the wearing of budgie smugglers in public as I find them dangerous to my health – midle aged hairy men wearing them make me nauseous – but – people have rights so I just try not to look at them.
    I would also like to ban the wearing of blue ties in Parliament House as I find the ethics, morality and political ideologies of those wearing them dangerous, abhorrent and offensive – but – they have rights ( and were supposedly elected by the Australian public in a free and fair election) so I guess I have to put up with them being allowed to wear them.
    Lee – I have reported the ADL daily (both their pages and individual posts) for about a fortnight – that is the standard response I always get.

  37. CMMC

    This is pure ‘dog whistling’ by Abbott.

    John Howard said exactly the same thing some 10 years ago.

    But Howards’ remarks were spoken when he and John Laws were in an ‘off-air’ moment, supposedly a candid observation.

    It was the headline story on TV news, of course, that is classic ‘dog whistle’.

  38. Carol Taylor

    Lee and, “Ha ha ha! Hey even without a burqa I have great difficulty determining the gender of some people in our society.”. And Lambie needs to know the gender of people because… 😯

  39. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    @mars08 Don’t do a Tony Abbott on me and deliberately misconstrue the contention of my contributions. You can show your man-boobs all you like for all I care.

    What I want is a level playing fleld for all women and girls in Australia. That includes encouraging a community culture where the wearing of burqas is not seen to be necessary to preserve women’s and girls’ modesty. Like I said before, I want less repression of women and girls, not more.

    And yes, this is my feminist perspective and proud of it.

  40. mars08

    Jennifer Meyer-Smith:

    What I want is a level playing fleld for all women and girls in Australia…

    Well, once we can sort out the dominant culture, then…. maybe… we can start on the immigrants who are coming to grips with living in a paranoid, fearful, unwelcoming, narrow-minded nation. A nation with hostile, divisive, fear-mongering, self-serving leaders and a clueless, ignorant, sensationalist media.

  41. red

    My feminist perspective is women should wear whatever they choose, in some ways I find the burqa quite liberating – not being judged by my face, hair, age, clothes or body shape appeals to me.

  42. mars08


    My feminist perspective is women should wear whatever they choose…

    Yes indeed. And that’s the attitude of my fiercely feminist daughter. She’s a liberal feminist who thinks that it’s the woman’s considered, uncoerced choice that matters… even if some people think that the choice is unwise.

  43. Jim

    You’d be rightly judged as being sympathetic to muslim imperialism though.

    Whenever I see women wearing them (I work in parramatta, near immigration centre), I think “you poor mindless brainwashed cow”.

  44. red

    Jim, “you poor mindless brainwashed cow” – mmmmm…that says more about you than anything else.

  45. Jimhaz

    [Tony Abbot is just using all this bull5hit to terrorise the public]

    I don’t think so. I think it is a dog whistle to polarise people – so that we don’t get complacent and “get used to it”.

    I thought what Abbott said was spot on (and i hate Abbott) – whereas the opportunist dumbo – Shorten merely came out with weasel words.

    It is important because only 15 years ago we had only about 200k muslims, now it is closer to 500k.

    This dog whistle is targeted at the men who control the religion around the world.

  46. Jimhaz

    [Jim, “you poor mindless brainwashed cow” – mmmmm…that says more about you than anything else]

    Yes, it says I discriminate, and make no apologies for doing so.

    Mindless – unlikely to be educated – not allowed in Middle Eastern countries that wear the burqa.
    Brainwashed – all religious people are brainwashed, and the more so when it means potential death to question religious memes or leaders.
    Cow – Muslim women who are not allowed to be educated, or drive or whatever, end up as child breeders

  47. John Fraser


    Sincerest sympathies to Prime Minister Baldrick for being so afraid of the burqa he had to put them behind glass.

    Strange how such a coward can send other to war.

  48. Kaye Lee

    Excuse my cynicism but David Irvine, the retired head of ASIO who kicked off all this heightened security, has been saying the same stuff for years. This has nothing to do with ISIL. He said the exact same thing 2 years ago. This is from Sept 4, 2012

    “The nation’s spy chief says Australia is increasingly at risk of home-grown terrorism.

    Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) director-general David Irvine says there has been a rise in the efforts of some Australians to support violent jihad, although the number remains “very small” in absolute terms.

    “We’re seeing at the moment less importation of foreign terrorists… but of concern is a rise in efforts by Australians who wish to support acts of terrorism in Australia or travel overseas,” he said.

    He says ASIO is aware of a small but steady number of Australians seeking to travel overseas for terrorist training or to participate in armed conflict.

    The ASIO boss says the intelligence agency is currently dealing with about 200 active counter-terrorism investigations.”

    He just needed Abbott in power to say yeah let’s whip up a frenzy…I’ll give you billions so I can look like the saviour. He is too stupid to realise the consequences of his “look at us being tough” approach on the Muslim community. Releasing videos of suspects who have not been charged and their homes is despicable.

  49. MIssPamela

    JIm – you should clearly stop thinking that way – or maybe actually start thinking and inform yourself?
    From the pamphlet referenced above as some will not read.

    *Note: This pamphlet will refer to both the niqab and burqa simply as the burqa for
    the remaining sections.
    An Established Practice
    There is no doubt that both the burqa and niqab have an Islamic basis, and that both have been commonly practised and
    recognised by Muslims throughout history. Islamic texts make it very clear that the hijab is compulsory for Muslim women to
    observe. Consequently, Islamic scholars have agreed that both the burqa and niqab are part of Islam, but have differed as to whether
    they are also compulsory or optional acts of virtue. This explains why some Muslim women wear the hijab, while others decide to
    wear the niqab or burqa.
    Common AllegationsCommon Allegations
    ‘It is oppressive’
    Muslim women who choose to wear the burqa do so out of their own free will, believing it is an act of worship and a form of
    liberation from the objectifi cation of women in modern society. In fact, preventing Muslim women from practising their religion is what is
    truly oppressive. “Niqab is a very liberating and empowering experience. It allows me to realise my goals by having a career and going to
    school without worrying about the prying eyes of men. It forces people not to judge me based on my appearance, but onmy thoughts and character.” Ms. Flavia, 22, USA.
    ‘It is backwards’ ‘
    It is backwards’ The burqa is not part of a short-lived fashion trend. It is a religious garment and act of worship which is
    not subject to time and therefore, does not become outdated. In fact, the burqa is gaining much popularity in modern societies, especially amongst Western convert women. “My body is my business, and I shouldn’t have to defend what I wear to anyone. The burqa is part of my
    religion, and the fact that I choose to wear it does not make me any less human.” Ms. Yasmin, 21, Aus.
    ‘It is intimidating’
    While the burqa may appear intimidating to some people, it is not worn with the intention of being threatening or
    frightening. People are often intimidated by what they have no knowledge of, and the burqa is a piece of clothing which should not warrant fearful reaction. Underneath the burqa is a person simply trying to practise their religion. It is interesting to note that other forms of dress and
    appearance are no longer considered intimidating, as they have become accepted by the wider community. Tattoos, extremely short dresses, revealing clothes, body piercing and outlandish hairstyles are all examples of this phenomena.
    ‘It is a form of male domination’
    Wearing the burqa does not in any way suggest that women are inferior to men. Claiming that the burqa is a symbol of male domination goes against the fact that many women voluntarily wear the burqa, even though some have no male relatives, or wear it against their male relatives’ wishes.
    ‘It is anti-social’
    There is nothing in the burqa that prevents a woman from
    ‘It is anti-social’
    There is nothing in the burqa that prevents a woman from interacting with other members of society, or from participating in
    the community. In fact, neither the hijab nor the burqa are required when among women only.
    ‘It stops women from contributing to society’
    Wearing a burqa does not stop a woman from contributing to society or from pursuing higher education. There are many
    women who wear the burqa and are very highly educated, or lead very successful careers.
    Every woman who wears a burqa is a unique individual, and it is unfair and inaccurate to make a sweeping judgement about all
    such women based on one item of clothing they have in common.
    From the very advent of Islam, Aisha, the wife of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), was and still is renowned as one of the greatest Islamic scholars to have ever lived. The fact that she wore the burqa did not, in any way, hinder her from becoming such a prominent scholar or from teaching the men and women of her society.
    And from another pamphlet:

    The Hijab is Dignity
    The Hijab promotes a woman’s femininity rather than suppressing it, and grants women dignity and self-respect for who they are, as opposed to being judged by superficial standards, such as appearance. This grants women the power to shape their own dignity via more meaningful standards, such as righteousness, knowledge and societal contribution, rather than having a consumer society dictate their worth through material means, such as how they look or how much money they earn. In the sight of God, men and women do not have to be identical in order to be equal, and this is reflected in the different roles and responsibilities which apply to each.

    Nobel Peace Prize winner, Tawakkul Karman, ‘The mother of Yemen’s revolution,’ when asked about her Hijab by journalists and how it is not proportionate with her level of intellect and education, replied:

    “Man in early times was almost naked, and as his intellect evolved he started wearing clothes. What I am today and what I’m wearing represents the highest level of thought and civilization that man has achieved, and is not regressive. It’s the removal of clothes again that is a regression back to the ancient times.”

  50. Lee

    “And Lambie needs to know the gender of people because… ”

    Mmm… well she is looking for a guy with a big package. Perhaps she is looking for a dickhead to match her own intellect. 😉

  51. stephentardrew


    Try talking to variety of Muslims or conversely traveling to a variety of Muslim countries and you will get the same diversity you do in Christianity from gun toting fundamentalist to meek practitioners of the faith. Try the Christian far right and see how rational your conversation is. The Tutu Hutu genocide was Christian led. Ice bucketing for charities has been turned into a competition amongst conservative Christians in the US photographed with a bible in one hand and the gun or weapon of choice in the other then posted on the net. I dunno who scares me the most fanatical Muslims or fanatics from any other religion including Christianity.

    Its not what you wear that makes you dysfunction it is your words and actions.

    Please try to remember you live in a democracy.

    Give away your freedom today and watch the usurper come for you tomorrow.

  52. MIssPamela

    One word – discrimination!

  53. Christine Farmer

    This is a ridiculous beat-up. How many women in burqas has our poor confronted PM actually encountered?
    How many actually want to go into Parliament House? How many people’s faces does anyone actually scrutinise in daily life?

    If women, for whatever reason, choose to wear the burqa (which is not the niqab or the chador) surely that is their choice. If their religious beliefs mandate the wearing of the burqa, again, that is something they must deal with if they prefer not to wear such clothing. We don’t have any business dictating what women should or shouldn’t wear.

    Personally, I find some of the garments worn by some young women aesthetically far more offensive and degrading than any of those worn by Islamic women.

    There are far more important things to worry about in this country, such as the way in which we treat those seeking asylum. Now that is a disgrace.

  54. Carol Taylor

    Abbott finds women in burqas “confronting”, but there’s nothing wrong with a 16 year old girl in a wet t-shirt competition..sounds to be an odd set of values to me.

    Now if this is really genuine and it’s absolutely imperative for people to show their entire face – then of course seated next to women wearing burqas and niqabs will be…men with beards…

    Now the logic (or lack thereof) is that a person needs to be identified just in case they cause a ruckus from the public gallery as has happened..then try to sneak back in. Is it just me, or wouldn’t just the fact that the person is wearing a burqa be enough to identify them anyway?

  55. Dagney J. Taggart

    Follow France’s lead and ban all face covering in public.

  56. Kaye Lee

    If women in burqas are dangerous, why are they making them sit in with the schoolkids?

  57. Rossleigh

    Ah, I’m with Dagney. Let’s ban that make-up stuff. Women’d save a fortune.

  58. marion

    If a person was badly disfigured from a fire or a gun shot wound to the face and had horrific facial injuries would they also be banned from showing their face to the public.

  59. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    At the risk of sounding like a grumpy old nark, I’ll point out that nobody’s mentioned those monstrous, long, skinny heals that young women insist inflicting on their feet!

    Bad for their feet and bad for their backs.

    Not to mention, not that great as get-away-quick devices, if in menacing situations out at night.

  60. Dagney J. Taggart

    Ross, that’s not what I am talking about and you know it. Fair dinkum, if Abbott came out and said that playing Russian Roulette is dangerous and bad for you, there would be a howl outrage from sites like this. The burka and/or niqhab are offensive to women and to our society at large. The burka is not about religion or modesty – it is about possession and control of women. There is no compulsion in Islam to cover the face. Hair, throat and bosom, yes. Which can be accomplished by the hijab. Have a look at what countries require full face covering – it is the most fundamentalist ones. The more moderate Islamic countries don’t push this.

    Any increase in the wearing of the burka should be a cause for concern, as it reflects an increase in the numbers of the more radical brand of Islam. And there is a creeping radicalism occurring among Australian Muslims, even here in the sunny Peoples Republic of Canberra (although not in the south, there are far too many bogans down here for that to happen). And that’s not just thoughts from the brain of Dagney, a Muslim colleague told me. He also told me that moderates like him (he is from the subcontinent) here are increasingly concerned but afraid to speak up for fear of violence.

  61. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Spot on, Dagney J. Taggart.

  62. MIssPamela

    Dagney – There is no requirement to wear the Burqa – Muslim women who choose to wear the burqa (and/ or niqab / chador) do so out of their own free will, believing it is an act of worship and a form of liberation from the objectification of women in modern society.
    “My body is my business, and I shouldn’t have to defend what I wear to anyone. The burqa is part of my
    religion, and the fact that I choose to wear it does not make me any less human.” Ms. Yasmin, 21, Aus.
    The important word here is “chose” – this choice should not be taken away and nor should women be discriminated against because they make this choice,
    Jennifer – Stiletto heels could be VERY dangerous weapons. Those wearing them should definitely be confined to the glass cage.

  63. Jennifer Meyer-Smith


    if any Muslim women choose to wear the burqa/niqab/chador, it may be because they feel compelled to demonstrate their support for their culture on racial grounds. I can understand that.

    What I can’t accept is that our culture, that allegedly aims for equality, faces being undermined by assumptions that, if a woman’s face is revealed, it is considered immodest.

    I do not want such thinking undermining how I, my daughters, grand-daughters and other women are perceived in their own community.

    I want less barriers to women’s gender equality and access to opportunities, not more.

    The stilettos bother me less in terms of equality and security issues, although there are some grounds for concern there too.

  64. mars08

    The recent and sudden increase in burka-clad women in my part of the woos is a big worry. They’re clogging the hospital wards and blocking the checkouts at Woolies!

  65. stephentardrew


    I just don’t understand the need to discriminate against any person if they are not directly harming others. I have lots of issues around religion however no issues around women’s right to wear and think what they like and I will avidly defend their right to do so. This is one of the great problems of our times people who continually try to think for others by preempting them with foregone conclusion when a variety of people will have a variety of alternative rationalizations for their attitudes and behaviours. little boxes made of ticky tacky and they must all look just the same. Pure stupidity.

  66. Lee

    “What I can’t accept is that our culture, that allegedly aims for equality, faces being undermined by assumptions that, if a woman’s face is revealed, it is considered immodest.

    I do not want such thinking undermining how I, my daughters, grand-daughters and other women are perceived in their own community.”

    Even if Australia was totally free of Muslims, many Australians would still look at women in our community and judge their modesty and morality by their state of dress, or undress as the case may be. I think most of us wear what we find comfortable and consider our choice of clothing to be no one else’s business but our own. Why can’t we extend the same courtesy to Muslim women?

  67. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    It is not merely a question of courtesy. It is a question of equality.

    I agree Australia still has quite a way to go yet before I can proudly say how gender-equal we are, particularly on the female/male divide.

    That is even more reason for me to staunchly argue that I do not want to see any erosion to any gains made so far.

    However, I’m quite capable of a little compromise. But I won’t compromise on the burqa or niqab. (Also, I apologise for my earlier ignorance in rejecting the chador. The chador is fine.)

    My standpoint is not meant as a disrespect to Muslim women, or Muslim people in general.

  68. mars08

    We’re very concerned about the rights and freedoms of some Muslim women. And we are determined to make things better… by restricting their rights and freedoms. That’s just marvellous!!!

    Jennifer Meyer-Smith:

    …more reason for me to staunchly argue that I do not want to see any erosion to any gains made so far..

    Really. Seriously, are you out of your freaking tree????? A tiny, tiny handful of vilified Muslim women wearing their traditional grab are going to erode A F*CKING CENTURY of women’s rights?? Oh good grief!! The ONLY people who are going to drag women’s rights down in this country are a bunch of middle-aged, clean-cut, Christian, white politicians wearing blue ties!!! And they’re going to be able to do it because idiots like you were too busy hyperventilating, and being overcritical about something that doesn’t threaten you in the least!

    My standpoint is not meant as a disrespect to you, or stupid people in general.

  69. rossleighbrisbane

    No Jennifer’s right – when a woman’s upbringing tells them what they should wear – that’s setting back women’s rights. However, it’s just fine that the Murdoch media and a few politician tell them to show their face. Just like men who ask women to show their breasts are actually helping to end their oppression.

  70. Gosh Almighty

    Am I right in assuming civil debate is not the norm here? Seems a shame given the seriousness of the content.

  71. mars08


    …I think, “you poor mindless brainwashed cow”

    Ha! yeh. I think almost exactly the same thing whenever I see some scantily dressed 17y.o girl…. false eyelashes, bleached hair, pushup bra, and fake tan…. wandering around a mall… chatting on her new iPhone. Oh, you poor mindless brainwashed cow!

    But I really shouldn’t be so harsh! After all, her attire and manner probably comes from cultural conditioning in the intensely patriarchal societies where she was raised.

  72. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    @mars08 @jimhaz Boys, get a grip! You may have women and girls in your lives that you are concerned for through familial or cultural relationships, but you don’t live the sense of intimidation or social disadvantage in your own first-person personal lives, as many women have and still do.

    So don’t preach to me or my female compatriots, who dare to speak out against sexual exploitation, gender inequality, socio-economic disadvantage based on gender, domestic violence, or any other form of gender discrimination that comes from racial, cultural or societal interactions.

    Don’t perpetuate this inequality into the next generations with every new generation or coming of new cultures blending into ours. If you do, you do us all a great disservice.

  73. Lee

    Jennifer, what you have failed to notice in a number of posts here, is that Muslim women do not consider that the burqa demeans them. You imagine that, based on your own culture.

  74. Lee

    …I think, “you poor mindless brainwashed cow”

    I think exactly the same thing when I see women teetering around on extremely high heels that they cannot walk properly in, that cause pain to their feet and spine. Ditto for the women who have their breasts enlarged because their male partners wanted it done.

  75. Terry2

    When the Speaker of our parliament yesterday ruled to consign burqa wearing women to a glass protected section of the public gallery I said to my wife, ‘this is a ploy to allow Abbott to come out and make a Captain’s call to overturn the decision and appear to be a moderate’: guess what ?

  76. Kaye Lee

    “I can only assume the government is wanting to capitalise on and exploit the current security environment. I can only assume that the security agencies are delighted they have been invited to fill in a blank cheque.

    “It is clearly overreach by the security services who have basically been invited to write an open cheque. And the government, which wants to beat its chest and look tough on national security, said, ‘We’ll sign that’.

    “And the opposition, which is desperate to look just as tough on national security, said, ‘We’ll countersign that cheque too’.”

    –Andrew Wilkie MP

  77. Kaye Lee

    ‘The federal government has introduced a bill to abolish Australia’s freedom of information watchdog, meaning people would have to pay $800 if they wished to seek tribunal review of government information decisions.

    In a move that will wind back significant reforms in Australia’s federal freedom of information framework introduced in 2010, the government has pushed ahead with its plans to abolish the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC).

    The bill would remove an office conceived as the “champion” of freedom of information and privacy, and would largely revert to the pre-2010 framework where complaints about freedom of information matters were heard by the commonwealth ombudsman and appeals went to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT).

    Labor and the Greens have previously raised major concerns about this move, saying it would “shut the door on open government”.

    Crucially, the bill provides no relief or waivers for the $800 filing fee to make applications to the AAT, which is likely to create a substantial barrier to seeking review of government decisions.”

  78. John Fraser


    @Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Dear Jenn,

    Its a religious symbol.

    Not your idea of feminism.

  79. Ros

    It defies reason to argue in support of the burkha or niqab. Even if there are women who choose freely and rationally to wear it everyone here knows that there are women who are forced to. Its as if for all the pretence of caring about abuse of women and domestic violence, scrape the surface of many’s views and they are indifferent, or have no comprehension or think that the pain of being isolated for many of these women is worth the cost of, I don’t really know.

    Jennifer and Dagney put the argument for injustice of the burkha/niqab better than I could, but I will add one other concern that hasn’t come up. This covering is required by the believers in it from puberty. Some put young girls in it, to get them “used” to it. Apart from the social isolation imposed on these innocents, there are issues such as rickets and vitamin d deficiency. Even the Saudis are concerned about the latter and have done some research and found very poor outcomes for vitamin d amongst women. And research into obesity amongst children has found it to be an issue for girls from cultural groups who inflict restrictive dress on children and teenagers.

    So if unable to contemplate protecting women from being abused, who would care to argue that we should not protect girls?

    And it is only a suspicion, there is so little research on this issue, but, the women arguing so strongly for the “right” of women to be so restricted in life choices and health are elite middle class. And almost entirely without burkha or niqab. The women it seems, who are so enveloped, are from lower socio economic stratas in our society. Not only are these “superior” women denying the right of other women to live in a society that requires equal opportunity and treatment for them, they are sacrificing extremely powerless, and often oppressed women on the alter of moral vanity. The argument that really gets me is that the banning of the burkha (which the European Court of Human Rights has just ruled is fine because the burkha is bad for social cohesion, hence France, Holland, Austria, Switzerland, Italy come immediately to mind) would isolate the women who “choose” to wear these physically and socially inhibiting garments. Really?

    and please celebrities, you really do get up my.

  80. corvus boreus

    Fashion based in faith
    dominates public discourse.
    Shadow puppets play.

  81. John Fraser



    Have you even spoken to someone who wears a religious headdress ?

    Do you have any evidence of women in Australia being "forced" to wear a religious headdress ?

    Why don't you expend the same energy calling for Australia to be a secular State along the lines of France.

  82. stephentardrew


    Every one of your complaints apply to the western exploitation of sexuality and we are somehow superior. “Everyone knows” is a weapon of the scoundrel who cannot own their personal prejudices. What a load of balderdash. Don’t include me in your know it all assumptions. Our kids are forced into overt sexualisation which often has really adverse affects upon body and mind. Fix your own dysfunctional society before railing against another. Our lack of compassion and empathy is far more disturbing than wearing of material. There are many good and bad metaphors for endless and diverse mythological symbolism that meet certain evolved adaptive needs and though, to us, they may seem deviant that is just another pathway that evolution explores in the process of self-organization, complexification and adaptation which we are not yet proxy and do not fully understanding. Democracy allows people to have deviant beliefs and you have the right to criticize but unless they are demonstrably harming you, you should not demand they conform to what you think is right. Unless one of the all knowing advocates of banning and censorship can demonstrate absolute knowledge; a complete understanding of love, non-judgment, forgiveness and the basic foundations of the causal contingencies that lead to certain behaviour in scientific and evolutionary terms then best remain silent. When deep personal philosophical questions become the handmaidens of prejudice rather than tolerance we walk towards conflict and retribution.

    Try talking to people you fear and listen to their point of view and you will find diversity and complexity that cannot be gleaned with simple projections of mass expectations of people’s motivations. Until then stop making assumptions and get out of other peoples minds because you have no idea what drives and motivates each individual. I have many beefs with religion however banning and intolerance simply exacerbates hate and alienation when we need to be welcoming and inclusive. I cannot control other peoples bad thoughts however I can be responsible for mine. Kindness and understanding changes hearts and minds not endless judgment, blame, retribution and conflict. Furthermore empirical evidence clearly demonstrates that forcing your beliefs upon others simply causes reactive distrust and anger whereas open discussion is inclusive and has some chance of changing hearts and minds.

  83. Kaye Lee

    To add another dimension to the discussion….

    One thing that troubles me is that the wearing of these garments is, in large part, for “modesty”.

    Firstly, that suggests, in the minds of some, that those who choose not to cover up are immodest. Just as these women do not want to be judged for their looks, I do not want to be judged because I choose to wear shorts and a singlet on a hot day or lie on the beach in my swimmers.

    Likewise, what message are we sending if we say an uncovered woman in immodest. That she is inviting unwanted attention? That the very sight of hair or arms or legs will drive men wild? That if men see a woman they will immediately be thinking sex and unable to control themselves? (don’t say it…I know).

    I will fight for the right of women to choose but I dislike the ‘modesty’ message and what it implies.

  84. John Fraser


    @Kaye Lee

    The "modesty" part is still a part of the (men dominated) religion.

    Always comes back to getting rid of religion.

    And by coincidence that covers Abbott, Bernadi, Andrews and the rest of the religious nutters.

  85. Ros

    What do you mean by “religious headress”? As for the burkha or niqab, where I live Muslim women don’t wear them, which supports my argument rather than disproves it. Are you suggesting I pop over to Lakemba and bail up a woman dressed in one and seek her opinion. Some thoughts, wouldn’t go down well, if the woman didn’t want to dress in that way she is going to be comfortable telling me? Do you seriously argue that there aren’t Muslim women in Australia, and more than a few, who do not dress this way against their will. I haven’t personally spoken with any child brides or circumcised women either

    I can direct you to Muslim writers who argue they do speak with women who are forced to wear this demeaning dehumanising restrictive garb, but it would take very little effort on your part to establish the veracity of my assertion.

    And neither do I speak with girls or teenagers (of course there is the problem that I couldn’t identify a teenager) to ensure I have first hand declarations of resistance to being isolated and restricted. So a question for you. What about young teens and children, should they be protected from being dressed in this way? Second, do you accept that there are negative health outcomes from being covered when ever outside? This includes in your own backyard for some hardliners, in case a sex mad neighbour should see your face.

    Let me be clear, it is the dress I object to, not the religion. Israel considered banning the burkha etc when an extreme Jewish sect started dressing their women in this way. Unfortunately they too got wobbly and backed off.

    In my younger days our squash association had a prolonged fight with a Christian sect woman who insisted that her religion required that she wear black track suit pants and a loose black top when playing competition. If you play squash you would know what a nonsensical position that was. But that was the old days, we eventually went to equal opportunity and they told her that we were allowed to stop her playing dressed in that way and that she too was required to dress according to the rules. A different world.

  86. MissPamela

    The important issue here is freedom of choice. I am not religious. I do not chose to wear a burqa. I do chose recently to wear a hijab in support of Muslim women. I do support the right of ALL Australian women to dress as they chose, including wearing (or not wearing) the burqa.

  87. Ros

    Stephen, this is about my society. I don’t see women oppressed in this way as living in a separate society. They are not the other for me, clearly they are for you.

    Every one of your complaints apply to the western exploitation of sexuality.

    Now that surprises me. Is that an indirect argument in support of dressing girls in this way. That the social and health deleterious effects on them is far outweighed by the dangers inherent in allowing sexually depraved western men to gaze upon their faces

  88. John Fraser



    Ahhhhh ! ….. the old "pop over to Lakemba".

    Was wondering when the "colour" would shine through.

    Post all the Links you have to your "assertions".

    Played squash in the late 60s and no such "rule" was ever imposed like you say, here in Brisbane.

    Although Brisbane did not allow (at the time) $60 sandals (with socks) to be worn in nightclubs and later discos.

    Must have been the Jesus fearing religious overtones.

    Funny how I still remember those sandals ….. they certainly were expensive.

  89. Lee

    “It defies reason to argue in support of the burkha or niqab. Even if there are women who choose freely and rationally to wear it everyone here knows that there are women who are forced to.”

    It defies reason to argue in support of sexual intercourse. Even if there are women who choose freely and rationally to do it everyone here knows that there are women who are forced to.

    I can apply this same logic to many topics. If you force women to remove their religious headdress you are taking away their *right of choice*. Many of them *choose* to wear it. The Muslim community are not forcing us to wear certain clothing so why are we doing it to them?

  90. John Fraser


    I'm going to sign off from this Article now.

    I will continue to read all comments and Links though (there you go "Ros" see if one of your Links can drag me back in).

    My position is that it is a religious headdress and as such people have the religious freedom in Australia to wear what they like.

    Just as I went to my local Kebab shop the other day and told them I was supporting them, I think I might show support by wearing a scarf.

    Just have to find a suitable colour …… preferably one that gives the impression of Capt'n Sparrow.

    If its good enough for Prime Minister Baldrick to give $20+ million to the movie then its good enough for me to play the part.

    Lord knows Johnny Depp has not yet signed up.

  91. Ros

    It is hard not to suspect that for some the oppression of women by the enforced wearing of dehumanising and isolating clothing is valued for the opportunity it offers to attack one’s hated politician of choice. That their rights, or lack thereof, matters very little in this argument. Plibersek, that wearing speedos to compete in sport or as a lifesaver is offensive. That she would rather be rescued by a life saver in voluminous board shorts and a torso obscuring cover. Ridiculous woman. As with others, lets use these women and make of them victims again. All in the name of and game of politics.

  92. Lee

    “Apart from the social isolation imposed on these innocents, there are issues such as rickets and vitamin d deficiency. ”

    I live in South Australia and I dress modestly because I have dark blonde hair, blue eyes, fair skin and had a dysplastic naevus (that’s a mole on its way to turning into a malignant melanoma) removed about 15 years ago. I take vitamin D supplements because, although I go walking every day, I am vitamin D deficient without them. Do you think I should be forced to wear very revealing clothing so that I don’t have to take the supplements?

    Are you aware that vitamin D deficiency is on the increase in Australia since the Slip, Slop, Slap campaign many years ago? Are you in favour of us all stripping off and frying ourselves to a crisp so that we can avoid vitamin D deficiency?

  93. MissPamela
    What about dressing girls in this way and exploiting them? “Child beauty pageants are exploitation. Little girls are made to undergo unnecessary and painful beauty treatments such as waxing, tanning and even botox. They are adorned with make up, high heels, false eyelashes, acrylic nails, flippers (false teeth) and hairpieces. They are primped and styled to look and act like mini-adults, to flirt with the judges and to be sexy and alluring.” This happens frequently in the US. Children need protection from this.

    There are many examples of things that effect our health and that of our children. Vitamin D deficiency in Australia is quite high but not due to wearing the burqa. Obesity is prevalent in many western countries, but not because people wear the burqa.

    I have worked in schools with young girls who wear the hijab and talked with them. They do not feel they are oppressed.

    Thank you John Fraser I have seen it.

  94. Ros

    John, wondered when the racist tag would appear. So you had no dress rules for competition squash in Queensland plus had agreed that if your Christian values dictated you should impede the other player by dashing around in view obstructing gear no worries. The folk I played with were a lot more competitive than that . John, children?

    Lee I claim your sexual intercourse comparison to be a false analogy.

  95. Lee

    That’s ok Ros. I claim you to be a bigot.

  96. PopsieJ

    After seeing Bronwyn Bishops picture on the front page of the Courier Mail all I can say is that I wish she would wear a burqa,

  97. Ros

    Pamela there is legitimate research that concludes all encompassing covering of children, within identifiable cultural groups, is a strong contributor to vitamin d deficiency and obesity.
    I claim you too are running with false analogies. You asked children how they felt about wearing the burkha or niqad. I am extremely curious to hear what they said to you, extremely

  98. Ros

    Lee in claiming your argument was a logical fallacy, a false analogy, I was playing the ball, your claim that I am bigot is playing the man.

  99. MissPamlea

    Ros – I have checked the research on Vitamin D deficiency and obesity in those “in identifiable cultural groups” and in the general population.
    ” false analogies”?
    I did not say I had talked with girls who wore the burqa or niqad. I said I had talked with girls who wore the hijab.

    Lee I agree with your assessment of Ros.

    John I too am out of here. I could post links to research about Vit D, obesity etc etc but the discussion has become unpleasant and I am not good at confrontation.

  100. Matters Not

    I dislike the ‘modesty’ message and what it implies

    While there is endless debate over meanings given to writings in the Qur’an, most, if not all, agree that the Qur’an instructs both Muslim men and women to dress in a modest way. Get that! BOTH men and women are instructed to dress modestly.

    The wearing of face-covering clothing such as the burqa, boushiya, or niqāb by women can be traced back to Islam, if one is in the business of doing that, but can also be traced (more reliably) to ‘culture’. Check out “hadiths” – reports of the teachings, deeds and sayings of the prophet Muhammad.

    Given the ‘modesty’ instruction I am always amused to see couples in places such as Surfers Paradise, Penang and the like with he in his Speedos and she in her full garb.

    Patriarchal power at play?

  101. Lee

    “Lee in claiming your argument was a logical fallacy, a false analogy, I was playing the ball, your claim that I am bigot is playing the man.”

    Way to go. So now you justify your bigotry. I have the right to call bullshit on your argument and point out the real reason for your position, which is your bigotry. Who gave you the right to decide what everyone else wears? Do you allow others to dictate what you should wear? Who gave you the right to force Muslim women to feel so uncomfortable in public that they are then restricted to staying at home? Do you allow others to tell you where you can and cannot go?

  102. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    And here it goes again. A few dissenting voices, who dare to express an alternative viewpoint that does not represent a desire to alienate or be racially offensive to anyone else, are denigrated by various “moral” and ethical elitists.

    First, don’t confuse the hijab with the burqa and niqab. In my opinion, the hijab is fine and fits into the cultural diversity of Australian society. The burqa and niqab don’t because they hold women and girls separate from the community and that is not egalitarian in anybody’s book.

    For those of you, who blindly blather about the woman’s “choice” to wear these cultural garments, you should examine the meaning of “choice”. I would suggest “conditioning” is a more accurate word. I will even be bold enough to say “negative conditioning”.

    And, as I have said previously, there are examples in the wider Australian community where women and girls are put under duress to dress or aspire to appear in certain ways, by family and peer pressure, as well as insidious advertising techniques. Just because we can all come up with such odious examples, many of which have already been expressed, this does not excuse the burqa’s and niqab’s repressive denial of a woman’s or girl’s right to a social discourse with the wider community.

    For heaven’s sake, I am only asking for some sanity that allows me to see and speak to a person’s face and not a piece of cloth.

  103. Ros

    A false analogy is a rhetorical fallacy that uses an analogy (comparing objects or ideas with similar characteristics) to support an argument, but the conclusion made by it is not supported by the analogy due to the differences between the two objects.[1] Sometimes these differences are outright ignored by the person presenting the fallacy; other times, they may not be aware of the differences or that they apply. The fallacy occurs, and is common, because analogies are just that, analogies, and their parallels are always limited; the differences between things can often overpower their similarities. ”

    “Appeal to motive is a pattern of argument which consists in challenging a thesis by calling into question the motives of its proposer. It can be considered as a special case of the ad hominem circumstantial argument. As such, this type of argument may be an informal fallacy.

    A common feature of appeals to motive is that only the possibility of a motive (however small) is shown, without showing the motive actually existed or, if the motive did exist, that the motive played a role in forming the argument and its conclusion. Indeed, it is often assumed that the mere possibility of motive is evidence enough.”

  104. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    John, just coz male eyes go in particular directions, does not negate opposition to the burqa and niqab on gender equality grounds. The woman’s and girl’s right to be seen and heard and to have social discourse with the wider community is imperative.

    Be careful or I will start to think you are a closet misogynist, who is enjoying this debate of women’s rights coz it’s another chance to question women’s rights to equity. Surely, you’re not one of the bad guys John, are you?

  105. Lee

    Ros, stop the mindless bleating about false analogies and answer the very relevant questions put to you. What gives you the right to dictate what other people can wear? What gives you the right to oppress Muslim women when you remove their burqa and make them feel uncomfortable in public?

  106. Ros

    While like all I too fall into traps such as false analogy and appeal to motive I am going to ignore my own advice and launch into an appeal to motive. Though first may I recommend comments by Ed Husic for one on what Ms Credlin actually said and was trying to achieve.

    But other characters mentioned in this discussion. I dismiss Ms Lambie, shouldn’t but do. She is a creation of a media titillated by her calling the PM a psychopath. She appears to revel in her ignorance.

    But Bernardi. This is a matter deserving of serious and honest debate within Australian society. While the issue I think should be about the wearing of burkha/niqab in public places, the Parliament one is just ridiculous, and an argument that is verging on done and dusted in Europe, Bernadi has trivialised and undercut the argument for a ban.

    Could allow him the out of just stupid. But, while he might be, his motive I believe is to cause dissent and unhappiness at a time when we need to be supporting each other. That he is a very nasty man, and without any medical knowledge I claim he is a narcissist, and a dangerous one. He has done women and children, who he purports to care about no favours. And I get no sense that he has any empathy, for anyone. What to be done about him. Christopher Pyne has committed considerable time and energy to the problem of Bernardi over the years, and if Christopher can’t take him out, who can.

  107. Lee

    ” The woman’s and girl’s right to be seen and heard and to have social discourse with the wider community is imperative.”

    I see women in my community wearing a niqab. They have employment and social discourse. A piece of fabric isn’t preventing that. What does prevent it is prejudice.

  108. Ros

    How about I just agree with Jennifer. Good enough?

  109. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Lee, I accept that you have witnessed women wearing niqabs taking part in employment and social discourse in your community. Nobody says such interaction is bad; it’s a good thing.

    However, what I question is the assumption that the woman feels the need to cover her face. I would be the last person to force her to take the cloth away from her face, but I question the symbolic affect that such cloth could potentially have on my community and future generations. Like I said earlier, I want less barriers for women and girls in our community to their rights to equity in all aspects of life.

  110. stephentardrew


    I certainly admire and respect your contributions. Can get a bit harsh here sometimes however that’s the way the game is played. It helps to define the difference between assertion and aggression. Please keep contributing your truly worthwhile comments.

  111. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Ros, I think your comments and character portrayals of both Lambie and Bernardi on the topic of the wearing of burqas are spot on.

    Lambie at least is being honest about her aversion. Bernardi sees it as a political opportunity, so he can attempt to divide and conquer the community. Little Cory wants a pat on the head from Uncle Tony.

  112. mars08


    It is hard not to suspect that for some the oppression of women by the enforced wearing of dehumanising and isolating clothing is valued for the opportunity it offers to attack one’s hated politician of choice. That their rights, or lack thereof, matters very little in this argument…

    ….the enforced wearing???

    “…valued for the opportunity it offers to attack one’s hated politician of choice…”

    Oh that says sooo much!! Clearly we’re ignoring the REAL victims here!!! Those poor, shunned, misunderstood, vilified, abused, middle-aged, white, male, Christian, clean-cut, suit-wearing politicians! It’s really quite unfair picking on such a powerless minority!

  113. Kaye Lee

    It has been a good discussion with valid points raised by all contributors whether you agree with them or not – probably a combination of what everyone says is true.

    If you have chosen to do something where you must swim fast then speedos are crucial, if you are swimming laps then they are advisable, if you like the feel of the sun on your body at the beach and want to avoid neopolitan legs then they are acceptable, if you are doing it for people to look at you (or for the random film crew who just happen to be there to photograph you) then ick, being made to wear them is just wrong.

    People do things for different reasons. I am not sure that we can dictate to everyone without knowing what their reasons are. Freedom and choice are the important things. Protection for children until they can make choices is important too but we are all guilty of indoctrination of our kids to some degree.

    Tolerance is the key as is open discussion so people know that here, in this country, you are free to choose and no-one, including your husband or your priest or your friend, can make you do something you do not want to do.

  114. Lee

    “However, what I question is the assumption that the woman feels the need to cover her face.”

    Jennifer, if you looked at one of the links I posted, there is a photo of a woman aged in her 30s wearing a niqab. She says she chose to wear it, has been wearing it for 1.5 years (so not conditioned from childhood), and she likes wearing it as it allows her to feel closer to her God. For years now I’ve been reading articles from Australian Muslim women and having conversations with them and every one of them has said they choose to wear their head dress and they like wearing it. I also work with a Muslim woman who wears no head dress at all. I respect all of their choices, even though looking at a burqa or niqab makes me feel claustrophobic.

    You are convinced that Muslim women are conditioned to wear the burqa. We’re all conditioned in various ways, in some ways good, others not so good. Take young women in our society who go out in public with fabric barely covering their female bits. Now outspoken feminists state that these women have the right to choose what they want to wear and they support the choice to wear skimpy clothing. I question how many of them have been conditioned that this is the acceptable way to dress in order to be popular, to be seen as trendy by keeping up with fashion and to be attractive to other people?

    Perhaps you have been conditioned to view one group as oppressed and the other as exercising their right to choice.

  115. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Lee, I respect your loyalty to the Australian Muslim women you know, have spoken to and read. In most circumstances, I would also state that I respect people’s choices.

    However, at the risk of sounding repetitive, the burqa and niqab deny me the opportunity of an even exchange, if ever I were to meet a woman or girl wearing either of these and wanted to talk with them.

  116. mars08

    Jennifer Meyer-Smith:

    …I question the symbolic affect that such cloth could potentially have on my community and future generations. Like I said earlier, I want less barriers for women and girls in our community to their rights to equity in all aspects of life…

    Good grief! How many burqa-clad women do you see in a week? I suspect the number is zero. And if it makes you feel better, I think that number will decrease as the women who wear the traditional garb get older and the next generation of Australian Muslims takes their place. With migrant families, each passing generation sees their culture and traditions dilute… unless, of course, they see their identity or freedom of expression under attack. In which case they may hesitate to let go of the past.

    So all those dozens of troubling Muslim women wearing the burqa in this country will fade. And goodness knows our beloved leader and protector is making it impossible for any more to reach our shores.

    Now… let’s look at other Islamic clothing. Are we sure that the niqab is liberating enough, or should that be banned too? Because some in Team Australia will probably find it confronting!!! What about the young Muslim men wearing the Kufi around OUR shopping malls. Surely that will be of concern to some of the shoppers!

    If we “want less barriers for women and girls in our community to their rights to equity”… how about we take a stroll and try to convince our young ladies that there is NO NEED to have their bum cheeks hanging out or their shorts, or their boobs popping out of their singlets. How about we talk to them about their fake eyelashes, masses of bleached hair and high heels that (besides being dangerous) make them look like Hollywood strippers.

    How about we go to the NRL games and chat to the painted, scantily dressed cheerleaders dancing for the crowd? THEY are the product of cultural conditioning of OUR patriarchal society! Wait, maybe the cheerleaders only look and dance that way just because they love and respect their team? Or they like the music. Perhaps they’re wearing those short-shorts to show their dedication and support for the players.

    Why not attack to forces that cause our young girls to despise their own bodies? The forces that drive our girls to starve themselves (and sometime die) in order to look sexy! Or the “ideals” that have them undergo plastic surgery to become more attractive to the men folk?

    Rather than trying to restrict the rights of a weak minority WITHIN a minority… why not concentrate on fixing the old-standing equity issues in dominant culture?

  117. John Fraser


    @Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Bazinga !

  118. Jimhaz

    [They have employment and social discourse]

    Lol. What percentage and employment where?

    I’d bet only with a muslim centric organisation.

    As for social discourse, just how many people do you think are interested in having a conversion with a black space of nothingness?

  119. Jimhaz

    Tolerance *in moderation* is the key.

    Unless of course you wish to be tolerant by default – meaning tolerant of child brides, clitoral mutilation, terrorism investment etc.

    How about tolerance of the LNP or the rich?

    Also just to make it clear. For me it is the religion I’m fighting against, it is the foundational element here and the one that has to modernise so that its followers can modernise.

    I’ve just been reading Bill Bryson. These cultural habits and ignorances of reality I do not want in Australia, are all more or less things that western nations went through right up to mid last century. We have evolved PAST them, and should expect those who come here to do so as well.

  120. MissPamela

    Thank you stephentardew. I do not intend to withdraw completely – just thought I had contributed all I could to this conversation today (and yesterday) without being repetetive and arguing with some one who did not want to discuss an alternative point view. I expressed my feelings and fully respect the rights of others to have different opinions. It is great that on this forum different opinions are usually expressed respectfully (and often with humour) and backed up by facts. I have not contributed much lately due to study but have been reading all articles. I look forward to future discussions.
    As an aside – my Internet is down and boy it’s hard to do this on a phone!!!!

  121. Jimhaz

    [I have worked in schools with young girls who wear the hijab and talked with them. They do not feel they are oppressed.]

    It was exactly the same in the past for most women.

    No muslim women or man is free to leave the religion – except where the religion has modernised by having to deal with secular societies . Change that lack of freedom to “think” not just to wear, and perhaps I’d be more tolerant of the godforsaken religion – but not the burqa, as it is clearly anti-life.

  122. Kaye Lee

    ummm……random fact

    Two Muslim women, Fatima and Miriam al-Firhi, created the world’s first university, Al-Qarawiyyin in Fez, Morocco, in 859 AD.

  123. John Fraser


    @Kaye Lee

    Must be why Prime Minister Baldrick is so keen to start bombing.

    But it looks like the Iraqi government is leaving him swinging in the International wind …. like the moron he is.

  124. MissPamela

    Jimhaz “We have evolved PAST them, and should expect those who come here to do so as well”
    Come here ?????
    Muslims have been in Australia since 1860 when the Afghan camel drivers came. Their descendants are still here. Many of our Indigenous citizens are Muslims. Where have they “come” from?
    Many Muslims are Australian born and breed – as are people of many other religions.

  125. Kaye Lee

    When Julie Bishop said “it’s different this time…this time the Iraqi government asked for our help” she kind of gave the game away. They asked for help from the US who are actually capable of helping….we aren’t actually part of “us” even though Julie did horn in on the NATO meeting in Ireland.

    It’s kind of embarrassing when the air force guy in charge of the team over there says “this is our largest deployment since the Vietnam war” and it’s 8 jets. Tony got a little overexcited after his “success” with Malaysian airlines tragedies. Let us lead the way he said, before anyone had given us a map to the ground let alone a guernsey for the run on team. We should stick to what we do well….humanitarian aid, disaster relief, search and rescue, rebuilding. Instead, we have cut our foreign aid to Iraq to zero so we can afford to bomb them….again.

  126. John Fraser


    44% of all Muslims were born in Australia.

    They make up about 2% of the Australian population.

    All the attacks on them are giving the Indigenous population a much needed respite.

  127. Jimhaz

    [Two Muslim women, Fatima and Miriam al-Firhi, created the world’s first university, Al-Qarawiyyin in Fez, Morocco, in 859 AD.]

    Not really – you are exaggerating. It was a religious college, and is merely the longest lasting one.

    But still isn’t it a pity to see how far the middle east has fallen due to the religion since. If ever a major religion did harm upon its people the muslim religion takes the cake.

  128. John Fraser


    @Kaye Lee

    That's why P.M. Baldrick is swinging in the International wind.

    Iraq has not asked Australia for help.

    Abbott cannot start dropping bombs until requested …. and all the bullshit about Cabinet meetings and flying over Iraq is just bullshit to cover up his embarrassment.

    And it wouldn't surprise me if they were doing the U.S. bidding as payback for Abbott forcing Obama's hand before the U.S. had a policy in relation to Abbott's "death cult".

  129. Ros

    I must apologise for my claims on the extent of the law in Europe. I tried to remember to say I wasn’t sure of the standing of legislation re face veils. In fact many had been sitting on it until the European Court made its ruling. Now they are back onto it with others stepping up. Spain is talking about it, Catalan has said it will pass legislation, with one town already putting in place a ban, though they cannot fine until the overarching legislation is passed.

    If I have read correctly the French legislation allows for at the least a substantial fine for any who encourage the wearing of the veil, with the fine doubling if it is inflicted on children.

    Face veils appears to be the term of choice of many Muslims opposed to the unacceptable covering of women.

    Jennifer I think you almost allow some intelligence for Bernardi with your seeking a pat on the head, his view of himself is that there are none who are his equal. And career wise, dumb, Abbott and Pyne are very good mates and I think to say not even if hell freezes over would adequately describe Pyne’s feelings about Bernardi.

    One of your opinions on why you object, the European Court’s explanation of ruling,”is not explicitly based on the connotation of religious clothing but solely on the fact that it conceals the face.”

  130. John Fraser



    France is a secular State.

    Why don't you just walk the extra mile and call for Australia to become a secular State.

    That why all religions cop it ….. not just the one which happens to be the flavour of the month.

  131. Kaye Lee

    What did the Muslims ever do for us…..

    Kept and translated the works of the ancient Greek scholars like Plato, Aristotle, and Socrates which led to the Renaissance in Europe.

    Built hospitals and wrote a guide to surgery and developed tools that were used for 500 years. Identified the circulatory system and invented inoculation.

    Built observatories and kept records of the stars and built instruments to determine co-ordinates

    Made significant contributions to physics and chemistry….

    They were civilised when we were wearing animal skins, hunting for food, and burning people who dabbled in science.

  132. Ros

    For a bit of I guess trivia, in fact there were 2 Muslim convicts amongst the first contingent of convicts. And Macassans (assumed to be predominantly Muslim) were trading with Aborigines in northern Australia from the 1600s reaching the Kimberley in the 1750s and Arnhem Land in 1780. Trade was stopped by the South Australian government in 1906, don’t know why.

  133. Jimhaz

    [Muslims have been in Australia since 1860 when the Afghan camel drivers came. Their descendants are still here. ]

    [Many of our Indigenous citizens are Muslims]

    From mixing in jail. Both cultures have a much higher percentage in jail than average. It goes with the “I’m a victim of westerners” cultural excuse.

    [44% of all Muslims were born in Australia]

    Yes, it is well known they have big families.

    [I think that number will decrease as the women who wear the traditional garb get older and the next generation of Australian Muslims takes their place. With migrant families, each passing generation sees their culture and traditions dilute… unless, of course, they see their identity or freedom of expression under attack. In which case they may hesitate to let go of the past]

    This is a real argument. It is the one that always makes me hesitant when complaining about the Muslim religion. It does make me wonder if I am I just being too impatient in expecting moderating changes to occur too quickly !

    But then I read of some new atrocity in Sharia Law, or see events like the terrorism of other muslims by IS, and I see the increase in the percentage of the population that is muslim and so on, and I say no – not enough people are putting up barriers, not enough are saying no to inanity, and there are already too many who will side on conflict avoidance because it is nicer and culturally more acceptable. There is no doubt that the truly moderate, non-imperialistic muslims are coping the blame – but so do westerners when it comes to muslim viewpoints!

  134. Kaye Lee


    Could you explain to me how Australian Muslims have negatively impacted on your way of life?

  135. Jimhaz

    @ Kaye,

    Some rather bad exaggerated history there. The writer is an interfaith sycophant.

    Yes though they were more advanced, no doubt about that. Doesn’t it just show you how harmful the religion has been though. Much of that scientific superiority was cultural and it took a few centuries for the constraints of the muslim religion to tie up the more advanced culture and make the scientific freedom and openness die out.

  136. Ros

    John are you a member of the Secular Party, who it seems consider Australia to be a theocracy. I don’t feel like we have particular issues with separation of church and state, and certainly don’t see it is an issue pertinent to protecting Muslim women, and the rest of Australian society, from the veil.

  137. stephentardrew

    Hey guys look over there: There are Weird Scenes Inside the Coal Mine.

  138. Lee

    “However, at the risk of sounding repetitive, the burqa and niqab deny me the opportunity of an even exchange, if ever I were to meet a woman or girl wearing either of them.”

    Jennifer, your discomfort with what you perceive to be an uneven exchange is acknowledged. What gives you the right to force Muslim women to conform to your culture when you won’t so much as accept or respect theirs? After all, no one is asking or telling you to wear a burqa. Why is your culture right and theirs is wrong?

  139. Kaye Lee

    According to a State Department report from the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor from 2001:

    Prior to the rise of the Taliban, women in Afghanistan were protected under law and increasingly afforded rights in Afghan society. Women received the right to vote in the 1920s; and as early as the 1960s, the Afghan constitution provided for equality for women. There was a mood of tolerance and openness as the country began moving toward democracy. Women were making important contributions to national development. In 1977, women comprised over 15% of Afghanistan’s highest legislative body. It is estimated that by the early 1990s, 70% of schoolteachers, 50% of government workers and university students, and 40% of doctors in Kabul were women. Afghan women had been active in humanitarian relief organizations until the Taliban imposed severe restrictions on their ability to work.

    Women are less free 10 years after the invasion of Iraq

    although the women of Iraq have obtained some benefits on paper, the reality is that they have lost far more than they have gained since the war began in 2003.

    women are no longer guaranteed equal treatment under one law in terms of marriage, divorce, inheritance and custody. That law, the Family Statutes Law, has been replaced one giving religious and tribal leaders the power to regulate family affairs in the areas they rule in accordance with their interpretation of religious laws.

    This not only is making women more vulnerable, it is giving women from various sects (Sunni or Shia) or religion (Muslim or Christian) different legal treatments on the same issues.

    Economically, women have gone from being visibly active in the Iraqi work force in the 1980s — particularly in the farming, marketing and professional services sectors — to being nearly non-existent in 2013.

    Violence against women — and the lack of legal protection for women — is also on the rise. Women’s rights groups blame the increase in violence on the social and economic pressure that families face, the lack of public and political will to stop it, and the increase religious conservatism that often justifies the violence.

  140. mars08


    Unless of course you wish to be tolerant by default – meaning tolerant of child brides, clitoral mutilation, terrorism investment etc.

    Ah… greetings and good day to you, Mr Strawnman!!! So what’s that you say? To accept a Muslim woman’s right and choice to wear the burqa is to tolerate clitoral mutilation and terrorism? Hmmmm, that might be a bit of a stretch, don’t you think?

    Well thank you, Mr Strawman. Now, please take care on you way out!! It’s quite windy today. A sudden gust might damage that delicate head of yours…

  141. Kaye Lee

    As with all cultural differences, education is the best thing to combat ignorance. FGM is a problem in certain communities but they are having some success by educating the parents about the health dangers to their daughters and by educating the kids to break the cycle. Saying we don’t want Muslims here does nothing to help the small proportion of girls who face these tragedies. As with all problems in our society, we need to step up and help rather than isolate and condemn.

  142. John Fraser



    "I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member."

    Groucho Marx ( 1895-1977)

    Your lack of knowledge in relation to State and church is showing.

    And yet you just continue repetitive banging on and on about a headdress that someone else chooses to wear.

  143. John Fraser



    Just piss of with your stupidity intact.

  144. Lee

    “I’d bet only with a muslim centric organisation.

    As for social discourse, just how many people do you think are interested in having a conversion with a black space of nothingness?”

    I wish i was in a position to accept that bet. The SA public service isn’t Muslim-centric. Neither are our universities. Both are equal opportunity employers. Believe it or not, there are some people who are intelligent enough not to judge people on outward appearances and to start up a conversation with them. Some of these women are employed in situations where tertiary qualifications are required and they are performing work where a high level of intelligence is required. It is reasonable to expect that they are capable of conducting an interesting and intelligent conversation given the chance.

  145. Lee

    “Unless of course you wish to be tolerant by default – meaning tolerant of child brides, clitoral mutilation, terrorism investment etc.”

    It is quite clear that there are some people here, like Jimhaz, who do not want to learn. They have not taken the time to view any of the links provided. If you did, you would have seen an interview with Reza Aslan where he states that female circumcision is not a Muslim tradition. It’s a tradition that arose in Central Africa. He names two African nations that are comprised of mainly Christian citizens and they have a very high rate of female circumcision. Eritrea was one of them. I am unable to access the video at the moment and I cannot recall the other. Aslan also pointed out other examples where there is a problem in one majority Muslim nation that is most certainly a problem for that nation, but it is not practised in other majority Muslim nations. So some of these issues may have their roots in a geographical region and culture, not Islam itself. The United States has previously provided financial backing to ISIS. There’s an example of a majority Christian nation investing in terrorism. The Irish Republican Army is comprised of Christians, namely Catholics.

    Several commonly held beliefs of Australians about Islam are blatantly incorrect.

  146. Kaye Lee

    Lee….it was probably Sierra Leone.

  147. Lee

    ““We have evolved PAST them”

    Well that’s debatable.

    Here are the women leaders of Muslim-majority countries, most of them freely elected by Muslim publics and all of them respected by the latter:

    Tansu Çiller, elected prime minister of Turkey, 1993-1996
    Benazir Bhutto, elected prime minister of Pakistan 1988-1990, 1993-1996
    Mame Madior Boye, appointed prime minister of Senegal, 2001-2002.
    Megawati Sukarnoputri, elected president of Indonesia, 2001-2004
    Khaleda Zia, elected prime minister of Bangladesh, 1991-1996 and 2001-2006
    Sheikh Hasina, elected prime minister of Bangladesh 2009-
    Roza Otunbayeva, president of Kyrgyzstan, 2010- 2011
    Atifete Jahjaga, elected president of Kosovo 2011-

    How did these women become leaders of their respective countries if the Muslim religion is all about the oppression of women?

  148. Lee

    “Tony got a little overexcited after his “success” with Malaysian airlines tragedies.”

    No one could ever accuse him of overachieving. One jet is still missing and Russia has imposed trade sanctions upon us as a result of Tony sticking his nose where it wasn’t wanted.

  149. John Fraser


    3:10 pm Friday October, 2014

    And still Iraq has not agreed to Abbott bombing their country.

    Just more bullshit from Abbott, with the ADF standing beside him.

    Needless to say Shorten agrees ….. with whatever Abbott says.

    Be better to pull on a burqa and plug in the i pod.

  150. Jimhaz

    [How did these women become leaders of their respective countries if the Muslim religion is all about the oppression of women?]

    Politics is a strange game.

    Maybe they didn’t wear burqas. Bit hard to get elected if wearing one don’t you think.
    Maybe their generally rich parents and overseas education helped considerably.
    Maybe they were puppets.
    Maybe as there were not male and not caught up in religious crap, they looked to other avenues of control.
    Maybe they were motivated by past oppression.
    Maybe the people just wanted some feminine rule after poor not-really democratic leaders had ruled.

    It is a larger list than I expected. Quite interesting. You appear to have a valid point with that list. All those women would deplore the current increased levels of fundamentalism in middle eastern countries.

  151. Kaye Lee

    As do our Australian Muslims

  152. Jimhaz

    [Ah… greetings and good day to you, Mr Strawnman!!! So what’s that you say? To accept a Muslim woman’s right and choice to wear the burqa is to tolerate clitoral mutilation and terrorism? Hmmmm, that might be a bit of a stretch, don’t you think?]

    No. I do not accept those as being strawman arguments. All political discussions, including religious based politics, are about collectively deciding where lines are to be drawn, or existing accepted lines need to be updated, based on limited information.

  153. John Fraser



    Keep it up.

    No one said that knowledge comes easy.

  154. Kaye Lee

    there was little, if any, coverage on July 2 when two of the world’s most prominent Muslim leaders denounced Islamic State, one of them Iyad Ameen Madani, the Secretary General for the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, which represents 1.4 billion Muslims in 57 countries.

    Madani stated that the actions of Islamic State “have nothing to do with Islam and its principles that call for justice, kindness, fairness, freedom of faith and coexistence.”

    In Britain, more than 100 Sunni and Shiite religious leaders produced a video denouncing Islamic State titled: UK Imams against ISIS. But since July it has only received 54,515 views, whereas the video of Lambie’s interview on Insiders had more than 87,500 views in the past four days. The voices of the ignorant on Islam are much louder than those of the learned.

    Last Monday on the ABC’s Q&A program, Michael Keenan, Minister for Justice, estimated there were more than 100 Muslims in Australia who had come to the attention of the authorities for allegedly supporting Islamic State. That makes up less than 0.03 per cent of the Muslim Australian population. Meanwhile the other 99.97 per cent(381,900) Muslims are besieged on both sides.

    Read more:

  155. Kaye Lee

    FGM is not required by Islam or practiced in most Muslim countries, and prevalence rates vary according to ethnicity, not religion. There is no reference to it in the Qur’an. Amnesty International notes that the practice has nevertheless “acquired a religious dimension”; according to UNICEF there is a widespread view, particularly in Mali, Eritrea, Mauritania, Guinea and Egypt, that it is a religious requirement. Medical anthropologist Carla Obermeyer writes:

    “Regarding religious differences, it is now generally recognized that even though a number of the countries where female genital surgeries are found are predominantly Muslim. In CDI [Côte d’Ivoire], the prevalence is 80 percent among Muslims, 40 percent among those with no religion and 15 percent among Protestants, and in Sudan the prevalence is highest among Muslim women … In Kenya, by contrast, prevalence is highest among Catholics and Protestants compared with other religious groups … Thus, there is no unequivocal link between religion and prevalence.”

    The former Grand Mufti of Egypt Ali Gomaa stated in 2007 that “excision is a practice totally banned by Islam because of the compelling evidence of the extensive damage it causes to women’s bodies and minds.” Egyptian Islamist scholars such as Mohammed Emara and Mohammad Salim Al-Awa have opposed FGM, arguing that it is not an Islamic practice and is not endorsed by Islamic jurisprudence.

  156. mars08

    I can clearly remember back in my high school days (all those years ago)… seeing those southern (and eastern) European women wearing their head-scarfs about town. And wearing the black dresses when they were widowed. It seemed so odd.

    They’re probably all dead now,,,

  157. Kaye Lee


    One of my close friends at school was born here to very Greek parents. They were lovely people who welcomed me into their home even though Anna wasn’t allowed go out ever. Even though she was intelligent and had lived here all her life, she left school at age 16 to marry a man she had never met who didn’t speak English (she did speak Greek)that her parents had flown out from Greece.

  158. Will

    I think Abbott got “face” and “weapon” mixed up. It is concealed weapons they should be concerned about, not concealed faces. Some airport security-like checkpoints for all people upon entering Parliament House should fix all issues concerning inequality. Simple! AND it creates jobs.

  159. mars08

    An arranged marriage with a Greek guy eh?

    Yet i still drive past 2 yeeros shops on my way to work!

  160. MIssPamela

    Yeah!!! Internet back.

    Getting back to the feminist / burqa argument, the following is an interesting article. apologies if it has already been posted. I can’t see it here.
    Shelina Zahra Janmohamed is a writer and commentator on Muslim women’s issues, and has been named as one of the UK’s 100 most influential Muslim women.
    “Feminists: stop fighting over what I wear, and start addressing who I am. I am neither burqa nor bikini. I am woman.”

    I agree – Abbott used this issue yesterday as smoke screen for several other things which were happening and then, as you said Kaye Lee, made an announcement which made him look like the “goodie”.

  161. Lee

    Great link MissPamela. Thank you for posting. Shelina makes several very good points.

  162. townsvilleblog


    I’m calling for expressions of interest in forming an organization that I’m proposing to be named The Church of Ned Kelly (CoNK). We would worship the memory of working class hero Ned Kelly and his followers such as Dan Kelly and the rest of his worshippers.
    Our national dress would be modern versions of the armour and of course the Kelly hood. My proposal, if it attracts any interest would of course encompass Church funds, which of course do not attract taxes of any kind, so we could build a small empire in double quick time. We would naturally have to seek exemption from existing laws for our attire and our goals would be to progress the existing situations of the poor, as Ned Kelly did.
    If you have an interest or any expertise in how we could expand and develop and register our organization please get in touch.

  163. mars08

    Muslim hate crime ‘rises 65% in London’

    1 October 2014

    Hate crime against Muslims in London has risen by 65% over the last 12 months, Metropolitan Police figures show.

    Islamophobic hate crime offences have increased from 344 to 570 in the last year, with many attacks targeting women wearing traditional Islamic clothing…

  164. mars08

    Well… I’m feeling rather silly right now! What a fool I was.

    Seems that our fearless leaders were right!

    It’s almost 3 weeks since those wise politicians identified the burqa as a threat. Sensible security measures were put in place… and, so far, there hasn’t been a single jihadist assassination in parliament house!

    Problem solved! Apparently.

  165. Myself

    Don’t know that I’m entitled to an opinion living in the UK, a country which gives up all our rights in the name of being progressive and multi-cultural.
    Whilst I am in no way saying that anyone’s human rights be violated nor their rights to practice their own religion without question, personally, I find it insulting that I have to remove my motorcycle crash helmet(mandatory to wear by law) to enter a petrol station or a bank for example but I can walk beside someone wearing a burqa or niqab and they don’t even get questioned. It is completely absurd, not only is their face covering not mandatory in law, it’s not even mandatory in their religion. It is a mark of respect for the male counterpart as he considers it immoral and sexually enticing to other males should she be seen with her face/hair shown.
    The area which doesn’t seem to have been covered and has happened in the UK, is to conceal the identity of criminals to allow their escape from the law. Namely a man evaded capture by dressing in female clothing including the burqa.
    I don’t know about other men but I can honestly say, hand on heart, I have never been sexually aroused by seeing someone’s face or hair. If this was indeed the case, I suspect I would be perpetually walking around in a state of arousal as the majority of women do not wear face coverings.
    I am not anti-muslim by any stretch of the imagination but feel that it’s fundamentally wrong to be discrimated against for wearing an imposed item and yet it’s just dandy to wear a non essential piece of clothing.

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