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What are your views on banning the burka?

by Finy (follow)
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Do you think Australia should ban the burka?

Why or why not?

#Ban the burka
#Ban the burqa
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Top Answers
I am undecided on this one but probably lean to banning it. I think that men can hide under it and although it is a cultural thing, the Muslim friends that I have, say it is not something they MUST do, so I cannot see a reason for it when the men run around in shorts etc.
Anyone who chooses to come and live in our country, needs to try and assimilate a bit, at least, and I find it daunting walking past someone in a burka as I somehow do not feel safe as I cannot see who is underneath it and in this day and age, we already often do not feel safe, with good reason.
by Finy
It's all well and good for us to be opposed to the burka, but there's a few things we need to understand. I've written about this very subject, and spoken to women from Saudi Arabia, and Iraq about it. The burka (and what you show in the image would be chador or niqab, not a burka, burkas are typically blue or orange and have netting over the eyes) isn't really a Muslim thing, it's a cultural thing gone awry. The prophet spoke about modesty from behind a curtain for HIS OWN WIVES, however as we know, religious texts are frequently taken out of context over the years and in different parts of the world.

Interestingly women either love it or they hate it. Some view it as liberating from the male gaze, others view it as oppression - I side with the oppression women on this one - but as a white woman never impacted by it my opinion doesn't count for anything. How muslim women feel about it is largely irrelevant though, because women often have no say in their lives in places where niqab / chador / burka is the norm. Frighteningly, and most importantly to this conversation, they also have no say in their lives in countries like Australia.

Sure we can ban niqab for our own comfort, we can claim that it's about safety, but whose safety is it about? How many men will refuse to send their daughters to school if their particular brand of hijab is banned? How many will refuse to allow their wives to go to the shopping centre? The argument that banning the niqab will stop men from wearing it with bombs strapped to themselves is ridiculous. Cars can have bombs in them, men put bombs in their back packs, mobile phones or shoes can be used ...... if you want to bomb somewhere you'll do it with or without dressing up like a woman.

We need to be mindful that a good number of immigrant muslim women don't speak English so they don't know how to call 000. They don't know that there are services to help them escape from domestic violence, they don't even know that what they live with IS domestic violence. To many of them it's just how women exist. And banning their hijab sentences them to a lifetime of house arrest. It means women and girls may live out their lives without ever seeing a doctor, without learning to read and write, without the opportunity to seek employment, passed from their family home to a husband who imprisons them the same way. With no record of their existence at all. All so we can feel comfortable that we never have to speak to someone whose face we can't see, or worry that it might be a man with a bomb?

So no, we can't ban burkas. The only people who can ban burkas are individual women who come from cultures where they are worn. What we can do is offer the CHOICE to cast it aside, and the knowledge that there's nothing wrong with dressing how you want to dress. If they choose to do away with the more extreme forms of hijab I will stand with them. If they choose not to, I will continue to feel the way I feel about it. I don't support any culture which requires this sort of insanity, but I don't get to tell other women what to do either. If I'm telling them what they can and can't wear, what makes me different to their fathers or husbands?

Any item of clothing which covers the face, in public, should be banned.

One can't wear motorcycle helmets' into a bank, because it covers the face. But M/B riders' don't walk around the streets, or shopping centres' with their helmets on.
Same should go for burquas' EVERYWHERE in public.

It's not the way we dress in Australia.

This is a scary, horrible, ugly piece of clothing. It's not compulsory for religious reasons'.

Their whole outfit is ghastly, & one doesn't know WHAT maybe hidden underneath. They're the only cult, whose followers' like to strap explosives to themselves, & don't care less about the consequences.

If I see one coming towards me, I get as far away from it ASAP. They scare the s@&$ outta me,

By definition a cult is a relatively small, fringe religious group, so that's an inaccurate and somewhat offensive term to describe the second biggest religion on the planet.

I'm not in any way defending suicide bombings of course. Most Moslems condemn them too, though I wish that were universal, or better yet that they didn't happen at all.
Yet again, I disagree with your theory of a word. You views rarely agree with mine.

I consider the beheading of a Catholic priest in France OFFENSIVE!
I consider all that thes nut-jobs do in the 'name' of their cult OFFENSIVE!
by donjo
Yep, acts of violence like that are very offensive. It's just that "cult" has a specific meaning that doesn't really apply here. There are Islamic cults, but Islam itself isn't a cult.
Jennifer is correct....it can not be put into those terms.
by jonaja
Well maybe the burka is worn by women who are part of an Islamic cult. Do most Muslim women wear the burka, do most Australian women of the Muslim faith wear the burka ?

If it isn't required by the Muslim religion, I find it hard to believe that women choose to get rugged up in the heat of summer in gear that ATTRACTS so much attention to themselves. Whatever their reason for wearing it in Australia, I personally believe that they are forced to by the men they are married to, and maybe that is a good thing because the men that they are married to know their own kind….might be necessary for women to cover up.
Or, alternatively, maybe they wear it deliberately to attract attention to themselves….almost like a dare or a challenge.
by fran.
Yes, fran, I agree. Why would one wear a garb which is ugly, hot, & attracts attention, 'hello, look how different I am to normal Aussie women'!
Beats me, but it takes all types, odds & sods, to make up this world, doesn't it?
by donjo
I don't think muslim women wear burqua to attract attention. It is just what they know to wear outside. They are used to it. I can't convince my mother or grandmother to wear jeans and t shirt because she's visiting Australia. She will still wear a sari. I think we don't need to judge people's choice of attire. It is a different discussion if you want to talk about women's rights and safety concerns. I think it is a valid concern that anybody could hide behind a burqua and it would be reasonable to ban it for that. However, how hot women feel wearing that isn't anyone else but their concern.
Hear, hear Donjo! Very well put.
by poppy
That's a tricky one. I hate it when people tell women what to wear or not to wear, and telling women they can't wear a burqa is doing that, but so is telling them to wear one. Personal choice is good, but having dress codes that don't apply equally to both men and women is sexist, and in at least some cases women don't choose it freely. So... Hmm. I don't like the idea of the burqa but I think it probably shouldn't be illegal. Interesting question.

Reading through the other responses, seeing women in them doesn't make me uncomfortable. Heck, it's even a fairly sensible way to dress in Australia in the summer if your skin is fair. Also, when I read the question I was just thinking of women who cover their hair and body, not their face. Face covering obviously is an issue with things like id pictures. You need to show your face for ID purposes, I really don't think exceptions should be made for that as it's a security thing.
and how do they get drivers licenses and passports etc? They all look totally the same in that burqa so how are we able to distinguish them??? " Look there is Fatima in the black burqa" They call us dicriminating but we must keep our mouths closed?
by brigi
Er no, clearly you don't have to keep your mouth closed about that. There is open public debate about it.
I thought this was interesting. http://www.news.com.au/national/move-on-to-burqa-proof-identity-checks/story-e6frfkvr-1226288773968
Apologies Brigi, that came across as a bit snarky, which it wasn't meant to be. What I should have said is that I'm glad we are free to discuss things like this in Australia. The link I posted its about stuff to ensure that women who choose to wear face coverings have valid ID.
No offense taken I didn't read anything in your comment but thanks for apologising anyway, I read that link you sent, very interesting, gets complicated doesn't it! Great topic this one, many views, love it!
by brigi
it should be banned if anyone from other countries want to live or visit out country they should conform
to our way of life or stay away.
I agree.
by nat_c
Totally agree. They're disgusting.
by poppy
YES, you really don't know who is inside man or woman. If you believe in God it's in your heart not by wearing burka
I don't it should be banned. Since it strongly integrated into the culture of Muslims. Since it is also an optional garment then Muslim women should feel free to wear it if they wish or not to wear it if it makes them really uncomfortable.
I don't believe any legal ramification should exist pertaining to this.
Not optional! the MEN say they have to wear them.....they cannot or rather, do not, defy their men -well most of them anyway
by Finy
Oh wow, that's a whole different spin.
by dwatk
No, the burka should not be banned. It is an integral part of some Muslim cultures. Just as we would not have people dictate to us what we could and could not wear—crosses, turbans, hijabs, and kippahs included—so should Muslims be free to decide whether or not to wear the burka. It's very simple.
by Vee
I am in two minds about this. Whilst I do not think that we should tell anyone what they should or shouldn't wear, I wouldn't like talking to people who wear one. I like to see people's faces. A burka tends to depersonalise us, but that is the point of one. I think that they should be banned in certain public places only, like banks and shops. They are a bit scary to me. Would we be expected to cover up in their country from head to toe?
I believe it is something the men want and not a religious thing....trouble is the men can do what they want. One of my good friend's brother told her she was not allowed to go to the movies with me -yet he went all the time! It is not a religious thing
by Finy
When I look at that photo, I find the garment ugly, drab and forbidding. However, it's fine to wear what you need to for your faith, I just wish the face covering was gone. If only we could all wear what we wanted without fear or prejudice - fear of the burka and prejudice against it and each other. If that lady's face was a little more visible and the garment was coloured or patterned I bet she would barely get a second look. Not much of an answer but it's pretty much all I've got. We don't have a lot of Muslims in our area . . .that I have noticed . . . but I am notoriously "colour blind".
by Rice
I would prefer to see a persons face, that's all.
i think it is a safety issue and what Donjo said about the banks is very true and as I said -their religion does not state they have to wear this outfit -it is the men who look down on women who say this
by Finy
I know and I agree...bye the way! If you went to their Country, and did not cover up! LOL....you may not make it back !!
by jonaja
I've noticed a few people in this thread saying "their country". If they're Australian Muslims, this is their country too. It's a religion, not a nationality.
I've noticed a few people in this thread saying "their country". If they're Australian Muslims, this is their country too. It's a religion, not a nationality.
Jennifer if you do go to their Original Country, or where their Parents were born, you could Not walk down any given Street as you dress in Oz...and yes you would be very lucky to make it back here! They take it VERY seriously.
by jonaja
Their original country? There are indigenous Australians who are muslim. Muslims come from many different countries, including this one, with many different rules regarding dress.
Also, I'm quite a bad example to use there since my usual clothing covers me neck to ankles, with long sleeves. Throw on a shawl and I'm good to go in a lot of Moslem places.
and their religion is PEACEFUL, Oh yes, look around the world for their peaceful behaviour....many have fled that disaster yes, however, when in Rome....
by brigi
You might be interested to have a look at the standards in different Muslim countries. Our nearest Muslim neighbour would be Indonesia, where headscarves are optional and the hijab is considered a bit naff.
Jonaj, I just wanted to stress in case you thought I was that I'm not having a go at you. I just wanted to make two points- 1 that Muslim Australians are Australians (being Muslim doesn't mean you're an immigrant necessarily) and 2 that not all Muslim countries are the same, just like not all Christian countries are the same. If you compare say, the USA, Ethiopia and Poland, all countries with a majority Christian population, you'll find they're pretty different, because they have different versions of Christianity and a lot of other things come into play like history, culture, language, even climate. It's the same with Muslim countries. A person's religion isn't all there is to know about them, as I suppose you know as a religious person. I think there's a lot of potential for discrimination and fear mongering when we talk about people in any group as though they are all the same.

I totally get wanting to see people's faces, for security reasons or just to communicate better,
I think it is quite difficult for some questions to define a clear answer, and this was one that got caught up in the wash.Thanks Jennifer.
by jonaja
It is a tricky one. Very controversial.
I've mixed feelings on this one. I think one should be able to wear what they want within reason, but on the other hand, we have to conform to other countries rules but we are so lax with ours. All well and good that we accept so many cultures into our country but as we see every day, so many people do what they want and possibly can do in their own countries and think nothing of it.
I do not believe that BANNING it is the answer. I personally do not agree with the concept of covering up so totally,but then I do not profess to know enough about this one to say what I would want to do if in their situation. If we were to visit their countries and not live by their laws/expectations I dread to think what would happen to us! I do think that if people of other races and beliefs are living or visiting here,then they should make the effort to fit in with our way of life.However, how they dress IN THEIR OWN HOMES is up to them,but in PUBLIC,I think they should respect OUR ways of life! I actually know many women who FREELY choose to wear these garments as they feel safer in their own (strange to US) way.I think that if the government came into this argument and actually tried to BAN the wearing of it altogether,there would be major problems ahead. But I do think that it should not necessarily be worn in public as it IS extremely confronting,especially with the terrorist issues which surround the world at present.It is far too easy to hide weapons underneath it. There are pros and cons to this one,and they ALL need to be visited......
It is not an easy one to answer, however all Muslims do not wear the Burka, so is it an optional choice if so then I say ban it as it hiding the face and people can be at risk by not being able to identify the wearer.
As the saying goes "when in Rome do as the Romans do" that is to integrate with our culture and society all immigrants should assimilate and be Australian.
This is not a racial or religious vilification.
Ban covering the face in public! Do what you like in your own home. They have come here to live in our culture so when in Rome do as the Romans! Their Men have massive double standards for women which goes against how we live here!
I agree totally.
by jonaja
so do I
by Finy
The first time I ever saw it I screamed and embarrassed my daughter. I was waiting in a shopping line and felt this big black shadow near me when I turned to look I panicked and screamed because I had never seen this before. It was a very hot day and I thought it was a robbery about to happen. Ive since learned this is the dress wear of a culture. I feel sorry for poor children. This must be scary for them as it is for us. Anyone can hide under a burqa as you can't see their face and you can t see if they are concealing guns. For everyone s safety it has no place in Australia. Also our climate is hot.
OH I have to smile even though I know it would certainly not have been funny at the time. How embarrassing.....
yes, you are all correct -when in Rome.....as a few said, we would have to dress to their standards in THEIR country so why is it not the reverse.
by Finy
So true. Don't you think we are afraid to say something for fear of offending. Every country has rules and we need a dress code.
by nat_c
It's hot in most Moslem countries too.

Concealing guns? Do you worry about that whenever you see a woman in a long dress or someone in a long coat?
When I see a woman in a long dress it has shape to it and it would be hard to conceal a gun. In the shapeless burqa you could carry any weapon. Why do they want to dress this way? They came to a new country to start over. Why cover your face. I refuse to talk to faceless people that hide their faces. I also nearly had a road accident with someone wearing the burqa. NOW HOW DANGEROUS IS THAT. I went to the local police station to enquire about the lawthen, at that time they could give no answer.
by nat_c
Jennifer, you are being pedantic
by Finy
I don't think that's pedantic. I think being afraid someone in a burqa has something hidden under it, but not having the same fear about anyone in long clothing is a bit racist.
You can carry guns under long coats at least. That has definitely happened in a number of shootings in the USA (committed by caucasians).
It has been very interesting to read the previous answers.
There appears to be two main issues...
1) one relating to safety issues and terrorism, uncomfortable feeling by the viewer of not being able to see a face or possible threat of guns or bomb underneath.
2) Not conforming to our idea of dress code ...when in Rome do as the Romans do has been quoted.
I also feel threatened or uncomfortable when faced by someone hiding their body and face. As I do with the bikers with chains and knuckle dusters (ordinary bikers do not frighten me.) Also the group of individuals that used to be dressed as Punks did the same for me.
I believe the government will be forced to ban the Burka within the next few years for the safety of the majority.

I agree totally. They don't wear face coverings in France and Ireland. Im not sure about England. They have done this for safety reasons. Its a good way to integrate into the country also.
by nat_c
Yes it should be banned in Australia. If women who dress this way are uncomfortable about my remark then I say go to your country of origin and live your life with your true culture. You won't have to feel you are being judged there - surely that is better for everybody.

What if this is your country of origin, as a Muslim Australian?
Well if your are an Australian born Muslim you are probably not going to want to wear the Burka. Your family or husband might demand that you do but if it is not required by your religion, then you surely wouldn't wear it.
by fran.
I feel when in Australia abide by our rules or stay inj your own country! I'm not racist by far, who know what is under that heavy masquerade that they wear, also if you go to their country they expect you to respect their rules! I fell for the women that wear them especially when it is a hot day.
If motorcyclists can be refused entry to banks because they are wearing cycling helmets, then women wearing this mode of dress should be obstructed too. And hoodies as well should be banned.
Even though I (and many others) find the burka a little intimidating, I think the business of being frightened will pass with time. People used to stare at nuns and whisper about them and make jokes about them, not so long ago. Now, the nuns habit is so very, very popular. Look at the number of people wearing them at say, The Sydney Mardi Gras. Won't be too long before the trend will change and people will be wearing burkas and tea towels on their heads at the Mardi Gras and we'll all get a good laugh………..or maybe not. I know I wouldn't be game to offend re a religious requirement ( or is the burka a religious requirement) ???
Maybe it is just a form of protection for women to avoid the lecherous, offensive Australian men seeing their beautiful faces.
KanchanN you are quite correct when you say it is none of my business, or anyones business to comment on clothing of another person and whether it is hot or not. With the burka, my only concern is the full head covering and the inability of other people to see you. In this day and age, with the problems with safety etc. I can only believe that these women are daring people to make comment OR are hiding something, for instance hiding their identity. In some other country if I didn't stick to their dress code, I could very easily end up in trouble, so…… I would not bring attention to myself by flaunting my flesh etc. etc., unless I was looking for trouble or criticism.
I still believe that some women are daring or looking for trouble. I include people that wear the burka in that category.
However, I reiterate that whether they are hot of suffering from respiratory failure is none of my business.
Totally agree. Should not be allowed in this country (or any other, but that's another story...). If you come here to live, then you need to conform to OUR 'rules'. If the hellhole you left was so great and you want to continue with that way of life, why did you leave?? And also agree with the other comments re safety etc. Plus it's just an oppressive, disgusting idea made up by oppressive, disgusting men who think women are just there for breeding, cleaning and sex.
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