“Frankly I wish it was not worn.”
That was the mind-blowing statement from Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott on October 1, 2014 about women wearing burqas on Australian shores.
The head of a country of over 23 million people seemingly can’t get past a piece of material and has blurted out a remark that would have been more suitable in the mid-1900’s. Never mind the religious & cultural meaning that it holds for so many Muslim women around the world, Tony.
Prime Minister Abbott does go on to say, “It’s not the business of government to tell people what they should and shouldn’t wear.” But he also thought it was wise to add that he “felt threatened by it”.
Come on Tony. When was the last time this country was threatened by Burqa-clad women? Or even just one?
This kicked off last week when Palmer United Party (PUP) senator Jacqui Lambie called for an outright ban on burqas in public because they posed a serious threat to national security. Quite frankly, how this woman has managed to squirm her way into a position of power is beyond belief, and is somewhat an indicator of what is wrong with the world today. At least her party compatriot, and head honcho of PUP, Clive Palmer, called her out on her stupidity in public. Onya Clive.
But that hasn’t stopped the poor little lamb and she’s fighting on. During a discussion on live television with a representative of the Muslim Women’s Association, Lambie went on to say, and these are her exact words, “because we can’t see your faces, and I need to see who’s under the clothing.”
Jacqui, what exactly do you hope to see under there? The mere suggestion of needing to see what is happening underneath any person’s clothing is disgraceful, and that’s even before you take into account the religious and cultural disrespect.
Quick disclaimer to save it coming up in replies: I do agree for identification purposes, any woman needs to show enough of her face, when requested, so it can be confidently matched against her licence or other sort of I.D, be it when the police pull her over, at the airport etc. But simply for the 2 seconds that it would take to make a positive I.D. That’s it.
Kevin Andrews, the Minister for Social Services called the burqa “medieval”, and that it was “demeaning to women”. That old chestnut. So it’s demeaning for women to wear the burqa, but it’s not demeaning for the government to also tell them what they can and can’t wear? Hmm… what do you reckon would happen to these women if they can no longer go out in public wearing a burqa? That they’ll suddenly trot on down to the shops, kit out in the latest Spring fashion and walk around town blending in as an average looking white Australian? I strongly doubt it. More than likely they’ll be confined to their homes. Anyone who spouts the oppression angle as a reason for banning the burqa is hopelessly naive. Do you think that “freeing them from the oppression” of a burqa will suddenly give them a new found freedom that Westerners seem to think they have? Whether you agree or disagree with a specific religion and/or culture, it doesn’t matter. Any choice is for that individual to make. Not our government. Not the scared and threatened senators.
Hey Jacqui, Tony & Kevin, what about hoodies?
How often are we greeted in the news each morning by grainy CCTV footage of some bloke robbing a service station whilst wearing a hoodie? You’ve conveniently neglected those. Which is lucky because I own at least four. Then again, I’m not Muslim so I guess I’m not a threat. And those yobs stealing cash and ciggies are good old-fashioned Aussies so we’ll give them a pass.
The anti-sentiment towards Muslims has been bad enough in the last few years. The bullet-like progress of IS or ISIS or ISIL or whatever it’s going to be called next week, has only made things worse. I’m not going to list cases of Muslim anti-sentiment in Australia because Alex McKinnon of JUNKEE has already done it so well here.
In a nutshell, our nation is scared and frightened because we’re simply misinformed.
All Muslims are bad. Jihad this, jihad that. They want to behead everyone in the Western world. IS represent the thoughts and wishes of every Muslim around the world.
It’s all rubbish, but what does our Prime Minister do? Rather than embracing their culture with open arms, he decides to perpetuate the myth that women wearing burqas need to be feared, and that Islam on the whole should be feared.
When a Muslim commits any sort of crime, the media don’t hold back from relating it to their religion. Aside from the countless number of sexual predators that have stalked our nation’s churches and school halls for decades, how often do you hear the word Catholic in the same sentence as bank robber? I hope you weren’t thinking, “Yeah, but Catholics probably wouldn’t rob banks….” Although not from Australia, this article sums up quite well how the media, and the population in general often perceive a Muslim criminal as a terrorist, yet a non-Muslim criminal is just your every day garden-variety criminal.
Back on home soil, today it was announced that anyone wearing a face covering will be relegated to the area of parliament reserved for schoolkids. I’m sorry, but has there been a recent terrorist threat on Parliament House by Muslim women that we aren’t aware of? To Abbott’s credit, and I don’t say that often, but it looks like he’s putting the kibosh on this one quickly.
There’s no one-size-fits-all solution to this (there never is) but as an individual, you can at least:
- Think twice before making sweeping generalisations
- Get to know someone of the Islamic faith and learn that like most religions, the foundations of love, family, respect still exist just as strongly as they do in most other religions, and
- Realise that unnecessary hatred & fear only fuels more unnecessary hatred & fear
I’ll leave you with this; a comment made yesterday by my better half in response to Tony Abbott. It sums it up better than I can:
Tony Abbott, if you feel threatened by a woman in a burqa, should you be running this country? Surely a man of your position is faced with “scarier” things than that? Time to pack it in and go back to your safe and warm house, where your night light keeps the monsters away…