Controversial senator Pauline Hanson has called upon Australian feminists to support a government ban on the burqa. Appearing on Today, the leader of the One Nation party labeled feminists in the Australian parliament who didn’t oppose the religious covering “pathetic.”
“Here they are standing up for women’s rights,” Hanson declared, “but there are a lot of women who are forced to wear the burqa by their male counterparts. Free these women.” A long-time critic of the religious covering, Hanson’s recent sentiments follow the draft laws proposed last week by MP Cory Bernardi, which propose the banning of Muslim face coverings at government offices and airports.
Hanson was widely criticized last August for a stunt in which she wore a burqa into the Senate chamber to call for a plebiscite on banning the religious garment. A recent news.com.au Twitter poll shows that over 80 per cent of Australians are in favor of a burqa ban. Religious facial coverings have already been similarly banned in 14 countries spanning Europe, Africa, and Asia.
Attorney-General George Brandis cautioned Hanson to be “very, very careful of the offense” that criticizing the religious dress would cause Muslim Australians. He stressed that of the 500,000 Muslims currently residing in the country, “the vast majority of them are law abiding good Australians.”
Labor MP Anne Aly, a counter-terrorism expert and the first Muslim woman to be elected to federal parliament, labelled Hanson’s stunt “just another eye-roll moment,” saying that Hanson’s method of stimulating dialogue is “not the way to increase the trust between individuals and groups in our society and the political institutions and politicians that represent them.”
Aly also stated that she hasn’t seen any evidence that women wearing burqas in Australian society adds to the risk of terrorism, and that Hanson’s stunt was designed to “isolate and create division between all Australians and Muslim Australians.”
However, an outspoken Aussie Muslim mum and member of the Liberal (conservative) Party, Mina Zaki, has also stated she is backing senator Cory Bernardi’s call to ban the burqa, saying that Muslim face coverings are at odds with Western society. She also said that “security concerns” outweigh the “liberal idea” of women being able “to wear whatever the hell they like.”
The ban-the-burqa debate has been brewing since 2014, but was reinvigorated last year when Queensland MP George Christensen called for burqa bans in all public spaces, saying, “facial coverings emanate from a culture that unfortunately has a history of oppression against women.” Even former prime minister Tony Abbot called the dress “an affront to our way of life.”
Watch Hanson’s Interview on Today
FEMINISTS PATHETIC ON BURQA BAN @PaulineHansonOz explains to @karlstefanovic on @TheTodayShow why she is calling out feminists for their pathetic stance on banning full-face coverings like the burqa and niqab. MORE: https://t.co/NE75rsIO2m https://t.co/59OT19eE6n
Jacinta West is Australia correspondent for DANGEROUS.
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