Politics Muslims In Australia Face Jail Over Veils

July 5, 2011

Muslims in Australia face jail over veils

By Jonathan Pearlman, The Daily Telegraph July 5, 2011 2:02 PM

Muslim women who refuse to remove their veils for police will face jail
under new laws in Australia's largest state.
Photograph by: Mohammed Abed, AFP/Getty Images

Muslim women who refuse to remove their veils for police will face jail under new laws in Australia's largest state.

The New South Wales government has rushed through legislation allowing police to force the removal of head coverings to identify suspected criminals.

The laws, among the toughest in the world involving Islamic female dress, follow the recent furor over a Sydney woman who claimed police tried to rip off her veil after her car was pulled over.

The woman, Carnita Matthews, was charged with falsely accusing police of assault. She was cleared by a judge who ruled she could not be positively identified because of her head covering.

Under new laws, approved by the state cabinet and due to be enforced within months, a person who refuses to remove a head covering for police will face up to a year in jail or a $5,570 fine.

"I don't care whether a person is wearing a motorcycle helmet, a niqab, a face veil or anything else, the police should be allowed to require those people to make their identification clear," said Barry O'Farrell, the New South Wales premier.

Most Muslim groups accepted the changes but some said a female officer should oversee any removals.

"If you're asked to do something by a police officer and it's legitimate, then you do it," said Khaled Sukkarieh, the chairman of the Islamic Council of New South Wales.

The Muslim Women's Association said if a female officer oversaw the removals then "nobody could really complain".

However, the radical Islamic group Hizb ut-Tahrir, which called for Australian Muslims this week to reject democracy, said the new laws were designed to intimidate Muslims.

The laws were also rejected by civil liberties groups.

Other Australian states say they may adopt similar laws, with the Western Australian government suggesting that it would consider the NSW legislation.

© Copyright (c) The Daily Telegraph

source: http://www.theprovince.com/news/Muslims+Australia+face+jail+over+veils/


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I am extremely torn on this issue. Part of me screams that the full veil is a form of oppressing women but the other half accepts freedom of choice should lie with the individual. I'm not sure which half is the dominating thought! It is interesting that women who speak in support of the veil never wear one themslef :seriouskudi:


If a woman wants to wear a full-face veil I don't see any problem with it, if it's her choice.

The problem of proving identity does need to be clarified, though. It has a few issues:
  • female police officers can't be on every single patrol
  • the vast majority of male police officers would be honourable but there are those who are corrupt and it would be horrible for those people to abuse their power -- I'm sure for a Muslim woman whose chosen to cover her face it would be bad enough revealing it to a strange man let alone one who may have pulled her over a couple of times in the same week and demanded to see her face just because he can
  • I'd like to hear suggestions from the Muslim community as to how we can improve security for women wearing veils
  • If everyone had their fingerprints entered into a database when they're over 18 there'd be no problem, police could have remote fingerprint scanners that verify a person's identity, and everyone's prints are already on file in case of future crime
Unfortunately this is such a hot topic in Australia at the moment because a veiled Muslimah falsely accused a police officer of forcibly trying to remove her veil.

I don't know how to link directly to the video, but if you go here you'll see a segment where three Australian girls wear the veil and walk around a popular Australian city and encounter their fellow Australian's wrath. It makes me feel ashamed!


If a woman wants to wear a full-face veil I don't see any problem with it, if it's her choice.

This is where I have an issue as I do not know of any women that wholeheartedly supports the full covering. It always seems to be under pressure of family expectations. Women in the full veil also never seem to fully participate in society-indeed I am not sure it is possible as so much of social interaction is based around facial expression (though that is changing with social networking and the increasing use of the internet!!). The fact that veiled women do not interact much with others indicates that it is an oppressive measure rather than one for freedom. The women that support it don't wear one which defeats the point!! However, if someone shows me the opposite then I will accept.


I guess at the same time, if they don't want to wear one, it's up to them to change it within their own societies. Findingmyway ji, are you suggesting that by making it more difficult for th women who want to wear the full face veil, we might actually give them leverage to get out of it?

It would be interesting to find the opinions of women wearing the full face veil. I signed up to a female-only Muslimah forum recently, so I'll ask there are get back to this thread with what they say...


One poster says the women she knows who wear it wear it as their choice.

A second poster says she has worn it by choice in Saudi Arabia and felt a lot more free wearing it, not worrying about how she looked or how people would judge her for how she looks.

But people will judge you for your niqab, as proven in the TodayTonight clip.