Cops able to demand removal of burqas

2011-07-05 14:01

kalahari.com

Sydney - Police in the Australian state of New South Wales are to be allowed to demand the removal of burqas and other face veils so they can identify people.

The state government approved the move late on Monday after the high-profile recent case of a Muslim woman being acquitted when a judge ruled she could not be positively identified because was wearing a burqa.

"I don't care whether a person is wearing a motorcycle helmet, a burqa, niqab, face veil or anything else, the police should be allowed to require those people to make their identification clear," Premier Barry O'Farrell said.

"I have every respect for various religions and beliefs but when it comes to enforcing the law the police should be given adequate powers to make a clear identification."

Anyone who refuses to show their face could be jailed for up to a year or fined $5 900.

The move comes in the wake of a case in November when a woman was sentenced to six months jail for falsely accusing police of forcibly trying to remove her burqa when she was stopped for a traffic offence.

Contentious issue

But her sentence was quashed last month when a magistrate said he could not be 100% sure it was the same woman who made the complaint because officers were not able to see the face of the accuser.

New South Wales state Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione demanded a clarification of the law and O'Farrell said the new powers should help prevent a recurrence of such issues.

Police previously had the power to ask women to remove face veils during the investigation of serious offences, but not on more routine matters.

The wearing of full-face niqab veils by some Muslim women has become a contentious issue in parts of Europe, where France has banned them in public.

In New Zealand, Prime Minister John Key on Tuesday said Muslim women wearing veils should not face discrimination, after two Saudis were reportedly ordered off buses due to their attire.

The Islamic Council of New South Wales said it accepted O'Farrell's decision.

Female officers preferred

"If you're asked to do something by a police officer and it's legitimate, then you do it," council chairperson Khaled Sukkarieh told ABC radio.

The Muslim Women's Association said it would prefer that a female police officer was on hand when the veils were removed, but if that happened then "nobody could really complain".

The Police Association of New South Wales welcomed the move, saying it was a loophole that had to be closed.

"It will provide clarity and certainty for both the public and for police officers," the union's acting president Pat Gooley said in a statement.

While Queensland state said it would not go down the same path, Western Australia indicated it may follow suit with the state's police minister meeting the police commissioner on the issue on Tuesday.

"I'm concerned at the idea of police not having the power to request drivers to remove helmets or other face coverings for ID purposes at the roadside," WA Police Minister Rob Johnson said.

- SAPA

Read more on:    australia  |  religion
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
78 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
 

The rich will pay - Mpofu

The EFF in Gauteng will focus all its energy on improving the lives of the poor, the party's premier candidate Dali Mpofu says.

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Watch what happened when we blindfolded Helen Zille and asked her to eat random things
13 days to elections - news you need to know
11 Julius Malema quotes you'll never forget
DA won't get 30% - Zille
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Tuesday Century City - 05:58 AM
    Road name: Ratanga Road Southbound
    ROADWORKS - lane closure between Ocean Spirit Avenue and Century Boulevard (until mid April)
  • Tuesday Mitchells Plain - 05:58 AM
    Road name: Spine Road
    ROAD CLOSED between Weltevreden Drive and Seafarer Drive due to roadworks (until mid April)
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Mother’s Day special offers!

Spoil mom with these awesome specials that will warm her heart. Shop now!

Twisp – the smoking alternative

Buy any 2 refills for R250 and save R149. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Mother’s Day specials on appliances

Browse our range of Mother’s Day appliances to spoil and pamper mom. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

BlackBerry Curve 9380

The first BlackBerry Curve smartphone with a touch screen Stay connected...

From R1799.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Treat yourself to something beautiful. You tend to put so much energy in making everything around you work harmoniously, and...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.