THE Reverend Fred Nile says he will continue his fight for a ban on the Islamic head and body veil after his private member’s bill foundered in Parliament yesterday.
The Christian Democrats MP wants NSW to follow a growing list of European countries which have moved to ban women from wearing the full head and body covering in public.
Rev Nile’s Full-face Coverings Prohibition Bill, which is modelled on legislation recently passed by the Belgium Parliament, would see any person wearing a a burqa or niqab while in public liable for a $550 fine.
Anyone who compels another person to wear such a covering could be fined $1100 and a person’s religious or cultural belief would not be a reasonable excuse.
“The time to act is now, the world is debating this issue right now,” Rev Nile said.
Well, we may as well start debating the benefits of Islamic immigration altogether. What say you?
However the Government, Opposition and Greens blocked his motion to debate the merits of the bill, meaning it is unlikely to go any further soon.
Muslim Labor MP Shaoquett Moselmane said considering the bill would “spread fear and division”.
Rev Nile said the issue was “the elephant in the room” and politicians were unwilling to touch a sensitive subject.
“They hope it will go away but I’ll continue to keep raising it until I get a debate on the bill.”
“I’m sure it will happen; the population in Australia in general agree with what I’m saying”
He says concealment of a person’s face – male or female – for any purpose, including terrorism, anarchism or discrimination against women, should be banned.
“We must do all we can to protect women, especially Muslim women, from discrimination and oppression so they live an open lifestyle,” Rev Nile said.
“The wearing of the burqa is a form of oppression which has no place in the 21st century.”
The Islamic dress also presented a security risk, he said, citing terrorists in the Middle East and Russia who had launched attacks while concealing their identity or weapons under a burqa.
For and against: Female subjugation or ignoring the rights of women? Reverend Fred Nile and Muslim author and lawyer Randa Abdel-Fattah present their case.
Arab women want to be claimed by men, and therefore have no objection to being subjects of a patriarchal and theocratic society in which their individual rights are abridged. Suab Joseph’s audience, which appeared to consist mostly of Center for Near Eastern Studies and Women’s Studies faculty, nodded their heads in agreement with this troubling statement. In fact, those gathered reacted favorably to the lecture overall and asked no challenging questions of the speaker. Overwhelming (if understated) evidence of the systematic and institutionalized abuse of Middle Eastern women didn’t seem to factor into the equation.