N.Z PM: Muslim veil no excuse for discrimination (AFP)
You couldn’t make it up:
after two separate incidents in Auckland where women were told to get off buses because they were wearing full-face veils, the Prime Minister bows and scrapes to Sowdi Barbaria:
WELLINGTON â€” New Zealand Prime Minister John Key on Tuesday said Muslim women wearing veils should not face discrimination, after two Saudi women were reportedly ordered off buses due to their attire.
Saudi diplomats in New Zealand had raised concerns with the government after two separate incidents in Auckland where women were told to get off buses because they were wearing full-face veils, the Dominion Post reported.
Labour ethnic affairs associate spokesman Ashraf Choudhary said he had spoken to the Saudi consul-general, who warned that such incidents could jeopardise New Zealand’s ability to attract Muslim students.
Saudi students were worth about $300million a year to the economy, he said.
In one case, a Saudi Arabian student was left crying on the street after the bus driver shouted “Out!” then shut the doors on her and drove off, the newspaper said.
Key said he was comfortable with women wearing veils, adding: “It doesn’t offend me. It’s part of people’s beliefs.”
He decribed New Zealand as a tolerant and inclusive society, saying he saw no need to ban Islamic veils in public, as France has done.
“I think where practical, and on both sides, people should respect others’ culture and cultural beliefs,” Key told reporters.
“There is practical reasons why sometimes a burqa won’t be applicable — banks for example, for security reasons from time to time they will enforce that.
“But for the most part we are a multi-cultural society and we should respect other’s cultural beliefs.”
In April, France became the first country in Europe to apply a ban on the wearing of full-face coverings, including the Islamic niqab and the burqa.
The country’s largest bus operator, NZ Bus, which was involved in both Auckland incidents, said two drivers had been sent on counselling programmes but were not dismissed because their actions were not religiously motivated.
“Both drivers… claim it’s not religious… but they genuinely have a phobia of people wearing masks, hence why we have not dismissed them,” NZ Bus general manager Jon Calder told the Dominion Post.
The Saudi Arabian consul-general in Auckland declined to comment.
The Dominion Post finds it necessary to educate NZ hicks:
WHY WEAR A HIJAB?
Muslim women wear veils to protect themselves and hide their beauty, says the Religious Scholars of New Zealand chairman and Wellington Islamic Centre imam, Mohammad Amir.
Women had a range of veils to choose from, with a “minimum requirement” allowing a woman to expose her face and hands, and a “maximum requirement” in which she was covered from head to toe.
“This is an Islamic approach … to protect the society and protect the dignity of the male and the female.”
(Nothing about how to protect our society from Muslim filth and ugly misogyny, polygamy, child-marriage, wife-beating, Â honor killings and FGM…?)
There were legitimate situations, such as appearing in court or for identification, in which women could be asked to remove their veils, but it had to be a “necessity” or it encroached on their rights. “It would be insulting if there was not any reason to remove the veil.”
He believed New Zealand was a much more tolerant country than many European countries, and said the great majority of Kiwis saw cultural diversity as a positive thing. “You always find some funny people.”
Porirua woman Adeeba Jabbar, who moved from Pakistan in 2009, said she wore her full hijab as it was in accordance with the will of Allah.
She had not had any problems wearing it, aside from people staring at her. However, she would have taken great insult if a bus driver had asked her to remove her hijab.