Cops able to demand removal of burqas

2011-07-05 14:01

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.

  • VAKTAP - 2011-07-05 14:17

    Dit is logies. In elk geval minder 10% van Moslem vrouens oor die wêreld bedek hulle gesig. Dit is net die meer konserwatiewe lot wat dit doen. Afrikaner vroue moet egter 'n kappie dra.

      Anthony - 2011-07-05 16:24

      ...en 'n mondstuk!

  • leigh.ridgway - 2011-07-05 14:20

    If in Rome, do as the Romans do! I am sick and tired of being 'targeted' by the Muslim population for being Christian. In our department at work we have 5 Christians and 3 Muslims. When it comes time for a departmental lunch or weekend away, the Muslims are always catered for and the Christian people are forced to endure their beliefs. For example, I don't eat meat of an animal who has had to endure a slow and painful death in the name of 'God' calling it Halall! I'm sick and tired of it!

      cocopops - 2011-07-05 14:45

      You echo my feelings, in a democratic society majority rules but when it comes to these issues as mentioned by you then the minority always has the say. Just to add, at the Grand West ice-skating rink in Cape Town you are not allowed to wear a hoodie whilst skating for identification purposes.

      R013 - 2011-07-05 14:45

      Exactly! They move to non muslim countries and then expect people to accomodate them and we're not allowed to say anyhting about it, its not on.

      Normaldude - 2011-07-05 14:48

      Hi Leigh Get a life , Your complaints are sooooo irrelevant , Remember that we are in Africa not Europe Lol. this issue is not a christian /muslim issue

      jowza - 2011-07-05 15:04 you know that the largest red meat halaal supplier is jewish

      I_Say - 2011-07-05 15:13

      Do as the Romans do? Well then you should either start eating slaughtered animals or move to Rome , because that's the AFRICAN way.

      jowza - 2011-07-05 15:21

      hope you dont work for a jewish firm.they slaughter the same way as muslims

      Irené - 2011-07-05 15:49

      @ leigh- oh life must be miserable for you- try being vegetarian- then you always cater for yourself at events. so I guess you dont eat factory farmed meat then either? That includes all take away meat btw. or are those tortured animals somehow different from halaal? I can atleast respect the jews and muslims for abstaining from eating pigs- who are highly intelligent animals unlike xtians jews and muslims, we non religious people have no claim to holidays or special treatment- that is why I recently joined the universal church of the flying spaghetti monster. I am sick and tired of ALL religious people getting special holidays and treatment while I have to work... now I also aired my complaints...that feels so much better! BTW- SA is secular- so your When in Rome saying does not apply...

      Cornix - 2011-07-05 15:59

      Daaivark, there you go. When Christians dare say anything, we get reminded sharply to be tolerant. Just have a look at what Europeans have to endure from the minority Muslim population there. Even worse, just look at how Christians are treated in Muslim countries. Go figure!

      Cornix - 2011-07-05 16:03

      Irené, but you do take off on Good Friday, don't you?

      Matt - 2011-07-05 16:06

      @ Cornix - agreed! The commentators should see what goes on in daily European life... like the chap in Bristol who had a butcher for donkeys years, but the area became very Muslim - they demanded he be kicked out because he sold pork - he refused - so instead they tried everything they could to get him bankrupted... there is so much tension in Europe now between "whites" and Muslims, it's scary. One thing I'm glad about is that in SA, religious tension with Muslims is almost unheard of - we just get along fine... @ Leigh - I've never heard of such a case, you either need a new job or to go to the CCMA... are your employers perhaps Muslim? I ask as I know of Jewish employers who force their beliefs on their staff... never heard of Muslims doing it though.

      BrixtonBriefcase - 2011-07-05 16:09

      Always amazes me how christians have the audacity to feel persecuted in their beliefs the moment they're put in a situation where they're expected to allow others to practice theirs. Up until very recently christianity formed the laws of the land in the western world in an unjust and inhumane way. You have no right to feel persecuted or "done in". If should be apologizing for the harm you've done.

      BrixtonBriefcase - 2011-07-05 16:17

      Go to the CCMA because a company caters for halaal and kosher employees!? LOL Now I've really heard it all! Leigh, as far as I know the christian religion has no dietary prerequisites (well, there are lots in the bible - but it's ignored) If the religion dictated'd be catered for too. It's standard practice around the world, and it's called being considerate.

      Matt - 2011-07-05 16:31

      @ BrixtonBriefcase - I guess you're referring to the issue of pork and shellfish... personally I choose not to, but how about reading Acts 10... CCMA for catering for others, oh of course not - if however there was a case of clear discrimination or a forcing to do as they do, by all means. @ Irené - the government kept it as a public holiday, most countries have it (though Belgium doesn't for some strange reason) - take your issue to the ANC :-) @ BrixtonBriefcase - you clearly have little grasp of what happens outside SA... Besides certain indoctrinations at school, Christians are still very much respected in SA. Overseas, Christians have every right to feel persecuted. Just read the British news for a couple of weeks or speak to someone who lives there - persecution is becoming an almost daily thing there. EG a Christian who had a palm cross on his dashboard was fired because it was inappropriate - yet fellow Muslims were allowed to have verses of the Koran in the same spot of their cars. So many cases going on up there, it's just sad...

      Matt - 2011-07-05 16:43

      I'm calling it quits for now... just to share something. I was in Frankfurt on training and one of my colleagues came from Libya. Obviously a Muslim. He didn't speak German and the German chefs at our hotel didn't speak anything else. So they served him cordon bleu and told him it was chicken... as he was about to eat, I said "wait a minute, that's pork!". He said "no, the chef said it was chicken" so I explained that cordon bleu is chicken, cheese sauce and pork inside. He opened it up... got the most disgusted look on his face and got something else to eat! I don't agree with his religion, but I didn't want him to eat it and feel violated either :-) good evening all

      BrixtonBriefcase - 2011-07-05 16:55

      @Matt: Persecution IS christianity's passtime of choice. History proves it. NO other religious group has had so much influence over legalities and what's considered socially acceptable and what not. Millions of people have been imprisoned, executed, committed and shunned because they didn't have cookie cutter christian beliefs. If you wanna dish it, make sure you can take it. It's like the big bad bully who runs and cries foul when he's called out on his behavior. That's all I'm saying.

      BrixtonBriefcase - 2011-07-05 17:12

      @Matt: Why should non christians care that christians are being called out on their hypocrisy (or "persecuted") as you prefer? Why should the world care, when TODAY in 2011, christianity is lobbying to have gay people executed in Uganda. When the biggest christian church in the world wants immunity from being taken to task for raping thousands of children? Why should the world care about christian rights, when christians are STILL after all the centuries of injustice ACTIVELY campaigning to TAKE AWAY the rights of others?

      Cornix - 2011-07-05 17:57

      BrixtonBriefcase, there are different types of Christians. There are Christians who see Christianity as religion, want to make it a state religion and force it onto everybody. Then there are Christians who see Christianity as a relation to God and a personal matter (keep it out of the state!). These are also people who lead by example, not force. Then there are even people saying they are Christians without even following Christianity at all. As a Christian myself, I don't know how to put it in a more neutral way. I just don't know why people like you fail to see it.

      daaivark - 2011-07-06 09:07

      It's not meant to be a comparison or contest, Cornix. Since when did Christ say do things this way, unless the other guys do it that way? You absurd logic is amusing, to say the least. But hey, it's your life and your religion. People like you are a constant reminder of why I don't embrace any of that stuff. Hypocrites. There you go.

      Matt - 2011-07-06 09:51

      @ BrixtonBriefcase - besides needing to check your religious history of the past 2000 years; what about the deaths caused by the lack of a religion? The brutalities of e.g. USSR, China? Under Stalin and Mao that's up to 170 million deaths - between 2 atheist leaders, more deaths than all religions, all wars in history, combined. Or did I miss something perhaps, did all the brutality never happen? Were people not scared even to tell their best friends they objected to the government for fear of execution? Were the USSR Gulags that Alexandr Solzhenitsyn a lie? Did China NOT murder 15,000 missionaries per month during their revolution? Hey, if you're going to throw one camp's apparent ills in their faces, at least be prepared to acknowledge your own camp's shortcomings... and then we can debate from there who's right or wrong...

      Cornix - 2011-07-06 09:53

      Yeah well, Daaivark, to people like you anything Christian is seen as absurd. So I might as well just ignore you from now on. I will keep on making my contribution, doesn't matter how absurd it may sound.

      Paco7 - 2011-07-22 14:34

      then leave work and eat that filthy dsgusting pork at home

  • McDaNife - 2011-07-05 14:35

    Let the muslim community decide to wear or not to wear

      MadMatt_88 - 2011-07-05 14:44

      So by your sense-of-entitlement logic, I could also open a bacon and pork processing plant in Saudi Arabia??

      zaatheist - 2011-07-05 14:56

      This form of dark age treatment of women is unacceptable in the 21st century and should be treated with the same contempt and law enforcement as female genital mutulation.

      jowza - 2011-07-05 15:30

      madmatt obviously stick to your job.dont try to open your own business

  • - 2011-07-05 14:57

    i see nothing wrong with this. makes sense.

  • Thingamebob - 2011-07-05 15:07

    Shabby Sheik is a muslim......!!!!!!

      jowza - 2011-07-05 15:09


      daaivark - 2011-07-05 15:31

      Hitler claimed to be Christian. So bloody what.

      Matt - 2011-07-05 16:18

      15% of the members of the Church of Sweden are atheists, and...

      Zee - 2011-07-05 17:17

      The Pope is a Catholic! Is he a paedophile too?

      Matt - 2011-07-06 10:05

      @ Zee - I doubt it, but I read that there was a Polish chap who sold chemicals like Zyklon B to the Nazis, went into the Catholic Church in 1946 to hide, and ended up as Pope John Paul II... can't say this 100% as "truth", just something I heard.

  • I_Say - 2011-07-05 15:15

    Thank GOD we live in SA where women can wear their Hijab. If SA were still ruled by those Inbread Rednecks we would have probably had the same issue here.... VIVA Democracy !!

  • leigh.ridgway - 2011-07-05 15:29

    @normaldude and Jowza. Firstly I have seen, first hand how these animals get slaughtered and it's barbaric. MY God does not promote the suffering of animals - FULL STOP! Our lovely next door neighbors slaughtered goats and cows in the back yard for a wedding, they were left without water for 3 days. I heard the animals screaming, I can still hear them. So don't tell me I don't know what I am talking about and don't tell me this is not a Muslim / Christian issue because it is.

      jowza - 2011-07-05 15:43

      i dont believe you

      jowza - 2011-07-05 15:51

      you still hearing them after they were slaughtered?where exactly do you live

      Matt - 2011-07-05 16:23

      Leigh, as a Christian who gets slaughtered myself on N24, it's not a Christian thing... it's human rights and a will not to discriminate that has gone horribly wrong! But it's all part of a bigger plan. Let them fight about the things they fight about, don't get nervous, just read the final chapter of the Bible and know that we win :-) and in the meantime love our neighbours...

      Zee - 2011-07-05 17:20

      Leigh - have you been to an abbottoir? The animals suffer MUCH more. Take ya blinkers off honey!

      Bloodbane - 2011-07-06 10:19

      @leigh.ridgway - while I agree with you on most points I just have to remind you your god demanded animal sacrifice.

      Bloodbane - 2011-07-06 10:21

      @Matt - hope you not reffering to our discussion when you say you get slaughtered on N24, we have lively debate's and we both know neither one of us is going to win, it's just debating.... not trying to change people views....

      OuBoerseun - 2011-07-22 14:01

      @Bloodbane - Yes God did demand animals to be sacrificed as atonement for the sins of the people. If you paid attention during your Sunday School lessons and at Cathechism you would have learn't that animal sacrifices were no longer required after the crucifiction of our Lord Jesus Christ who became our sacrificial Lamb.

      gw - 2011-07-22 14:40

      I'm a Christian, and have friends of many faiths. No, we don't agree on many things, but we do respect and tolerate, as GOD tells us to do (read the bible, dear Leigh, and you'll find it in there). But as far as slaughtering goats and cows for a wedding - I've never heard of any Christian, Muslim or Jewish person doing so in the name of religion. So, perhaps this was all just something in your head, much like the screams you still hear? Get a life - and some psychiatric help!

  • alan - 2011-07-05 16:01

    The news articles only mention one part of the truth on the matter, the title of these articles make it sounds like only muslims art targetted. The changes to the law means anyone with face covering on or bike helmet has to remove it at the request of an officer of the law if they have broken the law in anyway that requires them to be formally identified. The change is there for everyone nomatter who they are, white black green orange and all beliefs. There articles make it like that we are targetting only one kind of people and we are racist.

      Matt - 2011-07-05 16:39

      How does it apply to Sikhs I wonder? Like in the UK you are compelled by law to wear a helmet on a motorcycle, but Sikhs are excluded because of their turbans...

  • Cornix - 2011-07-05 16:13

    Have a look at what this Norwegian has to say: “Girls are bullied for being blond, and they colour their hair dark to avoid it and fit in. It is especially not okay to be gay at the school, nor atheist, and especially not Jewish.” Can you imagine? In Norway of all places!

      Cornix - 2011-07-05 16:26

      Another example:

      Cornix - 2011-07-05 16:33

      See what I mean?

  • preshengovender69 - 2011-07-06 08:34

    Some women are so ugly then need the burqas

      Matt - 2011-07-06 10:06

      Wow, do you live in the East Rand too ;-)

      Ross - 2011-07-22 13:46

      @Matt. Charlize Theron and Princess Charlene hail fron the East Rand so your argument holds no water. There are plenty of gooood looking women there.

      Paco7 - 2011-07-22 14:36

      your mother should wear one as well

  • Laurie - 2011-07-22 19:29

    I suspect God has bigger things to worry about than what I am wearing. My God doesn't give a crap what I wear, or even what I don't wear. The human body is not evil...the human mind is another story.

  • cgtours - 2011-07-22 20:02

    If you are not living in a Muslim country, you must obey the laws of that Country! or go back to a Muslim Country. Working in dubai or Doha or Abu Dhabi or any of those statesare hundreds , no thoudsands of foreigners including my family members. They abide by Luslim laws in that Muslim Country- by dressing with long sleeves, no shorts or short skirts etc and being modest.- if they do not- they will be KICKED OUT!! i THINK THAT SAYS IT ALL. uNFORTUNATELY, DUE TO FACTS AND WHAT HAS HAPPENED AGAIN HERE NOW_ - COVERING YOUR FACE SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED IN PUBLIC PLACES - DO THAT AT HOME- aNY TERRORST CAN DON THAT GARB AND WALK AROUND! Bann it for the safety of the population in ALL public areas.. or go and live in a Muslim Country,

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