Sunday, July 10, 2011

Anti-Muslim Law in Australia

Anti-Muslim prejudice is on the move again, this time to Australia.  The state of New South Wales wants to pass a law requiring a Muslim woman to show her face to police, when requested.  If she doesn't, there's a $5,500 fine (AUD) and a year in jail.

Great.  So much for religious freedom in Australia.  This is the same old tune that other countries have used:  "it's for security" or "it's because women are forced to wear a veil."  There are very few woman in Australia who wear a niqab or other face covering, and while some of those may be forced, it wouldn't surprise me if most of them were not.  And if you are wearing a niqab for religious reasons, then showing your face to some random policeman is going to be very distressing.  To use an analogy, how would you feel if a policeman pulled your wife over for speeding, then asked her to take off her blouse.  I know some of you think that's a bad analogy (it has some faults) but for some Muslim women I've met, the idea of letting a man see their face is about on par with that.  And who are we to force them to act differently?

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