Burqa Ban

More than 20,000 people pledged to join a Ban the Burqa protest yesterday by donning balaclavas and trenchcoats to show that… people shouldn’t wear balaclavas and trenchcoats. Or something like that. 

Protest organiser Kye Keating with Eleanor (no last name given). Photo: Jon Hargest

Those who want the burqa banned are facing some pretty big hurdles. Sure, there’s all the civil liberties guff, but they also have a big public relations problem because their side of the debate seems to get regularly hijacked by illiterate, hate-filled, intolerant, violence-prone, ignorant bigots.

So here’s some advice to the burqa banners as to how to keep ‘on message’:

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  • F Dink says:

    04:44pm | 27/09/12

    Oppressed / not oppressed   ...  that is the question…  well when NO muslima is subject to pressure/ostracism/beating etc for not wearing it, then, and only then,  can we regard it as a choice.  The problem is not the individual woman wearing the veil.  Of course having said that I… Read more »

  • Thommo the Enlightened says:

    02:26pm | 25/07/11

    Obviously there is one simple solution - wear what you want but if you enter a building or any public place you must have your full face exposed. Motorcyclists have to live this way - they can’t just jump off teh bike and enter a bank can they? It shoulldn’t… Read more »


Waleed Aly is a well-rounded kind of chap. A lecturer in politics at Monash Uni and a former member of the executive committee of the Islamic Council of Victoria, he is also said to wield a mean axe in his rock, funk and jazz band.

Nice burqa. Would you like eyes with that? Pic: AFP

Of Egyptian heritage, the Melbourne born-and-raised Aly has the gift of talking straight. And on the issue of the impending new NSW police powers to order drivers and suspects to remove their veils, he has a simple message: it was inevitable.

“This is the inevitable response to the scenario we saw a few weeks ago,” he told The Punch today, in what might cheekily be termed a “thinly-veiled” reference to the Carnita Matthews case.

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  • F Dink says:

    05:32pm | 27/09/12

    “It’s a question of implementation. If police abuse the powers they have, then that would be a problem. I’d like to see some safeguards introduced but just what sort of safeguards is hard to say.” Well police in Victoria and Queensland have always had these powers -  yet to hear… Read more »

  • Swetebox says:

    09:14am | 06/02/12

    you love this?  <a >chanel 2011</a>  and get big save Read more »


Congratulations shock jocks, David Oldfield, Cory Bernardi, Fred Nile. You have your anti-hero, your Carnita.

Carnita Matthews in a crowd of supporters

All causes need a strong narrative, and anti-Muslim and anti-burqa sentiment just got one. Carnita Matthews, 47, had a conviction for a false accusation against a cop overturned because the court could not be sure it was indeed her that walked into a police station and made the complaint.

It all started, and finished, with a burqa. Read all about it here, here and here.

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  • bitcoin says:

    10:24am | 21/09/11

    swfpkil tw21t99 xiqfjxr km3ffyg m0d3ko8. Read more »

  • Tee Jay says:

    06:12pm | 21/07/11

    For the last six years, Dr. Daniel Pipes has been detailing the number of common criminals and Islamist terrorists who have robbed jewellery shops and peeped into women’s bathrooms while wearing burqas, or who have blown themselves and others up from under the protective cover of a mere woman’s shroud.… Read more »


In light of laws which have recently come into effect France banning the wearing of the niqab and burqa, and WA Minister for Women’s Interests Robyn McSweeney’s recent comments that she finds the burqa to be ‘a very oppressive garment’, Senator Michaelia Cash, opposition spokesperson for the Status of Women, outlines her thoughts on the veiled women in Australia.

Women wearing niqab veils at a demonstration against the ban in France. Pic: Getty Images

Much has been made of the debate over whether women living in Australia should wear a burqa.

As a Liberal, I believe in a free, fair, open and democratic society where people have the right to make their own choices about the way they live their lives.

It is my opinion however that the wearing of not only the burqa, but any apparel that completely covers a person’s face, is alien to our Australian culture and our values.

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  • Haraam Dogma says:

    10:36pm | 28/04/11

    The full face covering obliterates a persons identity.  I think of it as removing the wearer from society. Its the visual cue that the wearer, by choice or otherwise is not participating.  This may all sound somewhat ephemeral but it does affect how we interact, judge (as we do) and… Read more »

  • S. Morris says:

    01:43pm | 19/04/11

    its been a busy month for the international ‘religion of peace’ http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/index.html#Attacks not for the faint-hearted or islamic appeasers. Read more »


There was an unusual and confusing incident in the chamber of one of our Parliaments last week which spoke volumes about the tensions within this multicultural society of ours.

An offence to the standing orders? Photo: AP

The incident demonstrated the hyper-sensitivity which Muslim Australians feel towards any discussion of their behaviour and, specifically in this case, their attire.

It also demonstrated the logical inconsistency of those Australians who will loudly champion our values of freedom and a fair go, while also demanding that governments pass laws to determine the type of clothing people are allowed to wear.

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  • Neveah says:

    01:23pm | 25/07/11

    I have been so bewlideerd in the past but now it all makes sense! Read more »

  • Pharmg635 says:

    12:00pm | 08/04/11

    Hello! kcegfek interesting kcegfek site! Read more »


Over the past week, two 20-something French students protested France’s new law banning the burqa by filming themselves walking through Paris in a niqab (similar to the burqa but with a slit for the eyes) – teamed with mini-shorts and black high heels.

The self-titled ‘Niqabitches’ described it as a tongue-in-cheek criticism of the ban.

You’ve gotta love the French – particularly French students. Although some may see the Niqabitches’ protest as ridiculing the niqab, their message was quintessentially French: vive la différence! or each to their own.

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  • Marg Lennon says:

    09:32am | 17/10/10

    I wear a niqab when I drive through the friday night local booze-bus station.  Not because I drink and drive - but because the Law in Australia says I can.  I can also wear it into a bank or post office.  I have even worn mine into the changing rooms… Read more »

  • Jason says:

    08:41pm | 15/10/10

    Elhombre, your argument is just plain stupid. The act of killing someone IS a crime, pretty much anywhere. However, owning a semi-automatic gun needn’t be a crime, provided you are not bothering anyone else with it or adversely affecting the day-to-day business of society. Much like wearing a burqa. What… Read more »


Earlier this year a mate and I drove 300km across North Carolina to have a pork sandwich. The town of Lexington is the capital of what our American friends call “barbecue” –slow-cooked, shredded pork shoulder served with a vinegary chilli sauce and coleslaw. You can feel your heart slowing down as you eat it and I cannot recommend it highly enough.

The Reverend Briggs lets his opinions be known.

Heading west from Lexington, towards the hillbilly heartland of the Appalachian Mountains, we saw a huge billboard on the side of one of the backroads.

It said: “You are now entering Klan Country” and bore the swastika-inspired logo of the Ku Klux Klan and a huge Confederate Flag.

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  • Walpdiepbeade says:

    08:59am | 16/05/12

    Its europeiske sentralbanken Standard Bank vil motstÃ¥ press for Ã¥  utføre   Du kan kampen en ny eurosonen krise nÃ¥r problemet møter iført Barcelona pÃ¥ torsdag, holder ilden tross samtaler tid for starte sin obligasjons-kjøp-programmet som ville hjelp austerity-hit Spania. ray ban 2012 Du var ekstremt nøyaktig innen sÃ¥ mange… Read more »

  • OnedPendPourl says:

    08:48am | 16/05/12

    Francine claimt een geweldig medium. Ze heeft me geholpen hele   dus beroep. Fysiek voel ik me die spanning is opgeheven,  bovendien ik meer over contact op met mezelf, mijn partner,  en zo mijn spiritualiteit. Ik ben zo dankbaar tijd voor   schone   zoals   per prachtige en en… Read more »


One little-known factoid from the celebrated spate of robberies by three burqa-clad bandits in Wollongong this May is that the criminals were not Muslims, and most certainly not Muslim women, but three blokes from Colombia who were more likely to have links to the Medellin Cartel than Al-Qa’ida.

Veiled attack…Abbott's remarks invited online invective. Photo: Getty Images

Nevertheless, these Colombian fellows were responsible for setting off a wave of spirited and pretty tangential public discussion about how Islam was changing the Australian way of life, and that it was time we followed the lead of France and made it illegal for women to wear burqas in this country.

Fred Nile, who appears to be on speed dial for this re-occurring story, said the case (involving Colombian men) showed how easy it would be for Muslim ladies to hide a bomb or a Kalashnikov up their Taliban-style frock. Liberal senator Corey Bernardi blogged about the issue too, billing the (Colombian) case as something of a final straw in the defence of our way of life.

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  • AliceC says:

    10:57am | 09/08/10

    @Ree I agree with you. So it’s OK for Catholicism to limit a woman’s choice about their reproductive system? The different in Australia, is that we clal have a choice to follow religion or not (as per our Constitution). I don’t agree with any religion personally, and that’s my choice. Read more »

  • AliceC says:

    10:53am | 09/08/10

    @Ryan, Are you serious? The burqa is equivalent to dole bludging? I know quite a few caucasian Australians that should wear the burqa then…. I though Australia was based on freedom and understanding, not making uneducated comments based on fear, Have you ever spoken to a Muslim, or a woman… Read more »


One night in an impromptu makeshift dance party in Mosul, in Iraq, I met a young girl of age 20 who I started to talk to about Iraqi politics. We spoke in English - her fractured English was a lot better than my fractured Arabic – and discussed topics as broad as the disconnect between the political class and the people, to the Bollywood blockbuster Slumdog Millionaire. 

So do you want to dance? Photo: Getty Images

I fondly remember that conversation, for one simple reason - Lubna was wearing the niqab, or, what most Australians would refer to (incorrectly) as the burqa.  She wasn’t what I had envisaged a typical niqab wearing woman to be like. 

She was partying and dancing next to both males and females who were drinking alcohol and rocking out to Katy Perry.  She was progressive, easy going and open-minded.

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  • JH says:

    10:43am | 18/12/12

    xyz, my wearing the niqab was not a knee-jerk reaction to this blog. Where do you get that from? Oh yes, that’s right, you think you know better what I’m saying/feeling because I’m oppressed, illiterate and men dictate what I am and do.  I actually didn’t start wearing the niqab… Read more »

  • Dana says:

    10:11am | 30/05/12

    Dancing to Katy Perry is anything but progressive and liberating. Are you kidding me? Dancing to soulless, mainstream studio anti-music? I’d rather dance to Disney music. It is, in fact, Disney music. Please. Read more »


If a woman walks down the street in a mini skirt and someone calls her a slut, feminists will be quick to object.  However if a Muslim woman walks down in a burqa then many feminists are happy to concede that she is oppressed, submissive and brainwashed.

Clearly oppressed? A woman demonstrating against Dutch plans to ban the burqa. Pic: AP  / File

Unfortunately many feminists still believe that no Muslim woman could ever choose to wear the veil of her own free will. 

As a Muslim feminist I find this infuriating, condescending and patronising.

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  • Hani says:

    01:30pm | 02/11/12

    I agree. As a feminist I believe people should be allowed to wear whatever they want. As long as women aren’t forced to wear burqah it’s okay. Read more »

  • Lisa A. says:

    03:05pm | 29/08/12

    Brilliant! I am not Muslim. I am a Romani woman & we also tend to “cover up”. Many of our girls & women cover their hair for modesty reasons. Many places of work do not allow head coverings & so some Romani women opt to not work, or limit themselves… Read more »


When it comes to intimate workings and in-depth knowledge of Muslim culture, let’s not beat around the bush, we have no frigging idea what we’re talking about.

Symbol of oppression - or our own confusion? Photo: Getty Images

We don’t understand the burqa. Hell, we’re not even sure how to spell it. Or the Koran for that matter. Quran? Qar’an? Karan? Who knows. I don’t even know what it’s about. Is it a story, or is it just an instruction manual for the soul? Beggar’s belief.

We haven’t opened it up. We haven’t eyed it on the sale table at Borders and thought, “I reckon I should read this since we seem to be talking about it all the time”. We’ve hardly even worn a crease in our own one. The first stanza of Genesis we all learn by osmosis, but it’s a bit like learning the words to Advance Australia Fair. It’s just something that infiltrates your childhood brain and you blurt out by rote, without any thought as to what the hell “girt by sea” even means.

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  • B says:

    03:18pm | 14/02/12

    I find this to be extremely disturbing.  There is something terribly wrong with this culture.  Honestly, it’s plain wrong.  There is nothing to fear from the sun.  There is something wrong with these people and culture.  And people who support them, there’s is something wrong with them as well. Read more »

  • mary from widebay says:

    08:26am | 02/06/10

    Amen and Amen to a journalist who hit the nail .. Read more »


I’m going, for the first time, to somewhere with sharia law. Alcohol is illegal, adulterers can be stoned, public floggings occur, and I’ll have to wear a jilbab (headscarf) and ankle-length skirts.

Girls at school in Aceh, Indonesia. Photo: Getty Images

This isn’t the Middle East, it’s not Saudi Arabia or Iran - it’s our close neighbour, Indonesia. Specifically, it’s Aceh, that beleaguered Indonesian province still recovering from the Boxing Day tsunami.

Sharia law can mean all sorts of things. Muslims believe it is God’s law, as derived from the teachings of the Koran and the sayings of the Prophet Mohammed.

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  • London says:

    05:51pm | 23/09/10

    I dont think people should have to adopt the typical Australian traditions like footy or drinking lots of beer etc. Infact, some of these typical traditions makes Auatralia look bad. But I agree that wearing a burqa is not custom and it definitely should not be allowed in certain cases,… Read more »

  • Kezza says:

    04:21pm | 23/09/10

    Why aren’t Muslim men required to cover their faces? Read more »


Leading the way burqa-free, Queen Rania of Jordan

Before this commentary gets underway, I feel that it is necessary to close the gate before the horse bolts. So first up, let me say that I am not anti-Islamic, I have lived as a Muslim woman from the age of seventeen until I was twenty two (and admittedly, found it not to my liking for a number of reasons).

Much of my professional life has been spent working with, and for Muslim people in the war zones of Bosnia Herzogovina, Kosovo and Albania as an humanitarian relief worker, and I have traveled and worked extensively in the Middle East, Europe, Africa and Asia - so I have seen quite a bit of the world and can compare how varying societies adapt the Islamic religion to the cultural morays and sensitivities of their regions.

Tory Maguire’s piece yesterday and the reader’s comments that followed had much to say on the reasons often cited by western media and society about what is believed to be the motivation for Muslim women to don the burqa and headscarves. 

The common, misinformed perception is that Muslim women mostly wear the burqa to express their religious devotion. 

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  • Simon says:

    02:24pm | 31/01/12

    so you’ve read an english translation of an arabic text because you cant actually understand the arabic yourself and you claim that everything the clerics (presumably those who have studied the quran in arabic and works of jurisprudence and exegesis) made it all up? haha Thats cute. Read more »

  • Simon says:

    02:09pm | 31/01/12

    no its not.  e.g “Sunat”  (in the context within which the author of this article used the word) is a retardation of the word “sunnah”... by the author which shows she knows nothing of arabic grammar and as such, probably cannot read or speak basic arabic, let alone fushah arabic… Read more »


If I was married to Carla Bruni I wouldn’t be a big fan of the burqa either, so it is perhaps no surprise that French President Nicholas Sarkozy is not in favour of women covering themselves from head to toe.

Call it what you want, this niqab is a symbol of female suppression.

But Sarkozy’s forceful condemnation of the Islamic shroud as a symbol of female “subservience”, not religious faith, was absolutely right.

There is no greater way, other than locking the front door, to ensure a woman’s total invisibility in society - and thereby formalise her lack of worth - than to cover every inch of her, including her eyes, in heavy fabric.

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  • Jim says:

    01:56pm | 21/06/11

    I think they should ban the Burqa , it’s no different from wearing a balaclava in public is it, and be serious were not allowed to wear one of them are we. I ride a motorcycle and am banned from wearing my helmet in service stations , Banks and some… Read more »

  • tahira says:

    06:40am | 01/07/10

    The fact is extermist are murderous thugs maskerting as holy men.they have hijacked the language and culture of islam. There is no complusion in religion. Jihad is to strive to self improve and not about terrorrism. Read more »


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