The burka again: contempt for our openess

Burka is legal, but it’s about manners

A PERTH Muslim woman is now waiting for Perth District Court judge Shauna Deane to decide whether she can wear a burka while giving evidence in a case brought against Anwar Sayed, director of the Muslim Ladies College of Australia for fraud. Again, much ink and air time has been expended on this persistent, and very strongly felt issue.

Hugo Rifkind, a columnist for the British Spectator, recently wrote the best, most common sense, opinion about what should be done with the burka in Western countries in relation to the tricky problem of “rights”. Conjuring up the idea of wearing underpants on his head — any, his own, porn-star panties, Victorian bloomers — he explains that he has the right go into a Post Office, a Jobcentre, a school, a church or a mosque. “Such is my right, as a freeborn Brit, and nobody has the right to force me to take them off.”

But I don’t have the right to not be told by people who see me that I look like an idiot. I don’t have the right not to be asked if I wouldn’t perhaps mind growing the hell up, and taking them off.

When did the world suddenly decide that the right to do something necessarily entailed the right not to be politely asked to stop doing it? It’s a dangerous nonsense. None of this is about ‘rights’ at all. It’s about manners. Security concerns aside, of course, women should have the right to wear the burka, anywhere they like. But that doesn’t mean it’s not an inherently repellent garment, the wearing of which, in Britain, is basically just rude. So stop it.

So, getting back to the Perth woman; she was reported as saying “I’d like to make it very clear that … it’s a personal choice and we lead a very normal active life just like everyone else.”

Well I say that this is plain silly. How can she claim to lead a normal, active life with a sack covering her head? In Western countries it is simply not normal to cover your face and deprive everyone in public of seeing who you are, and then to expect to interact with you in a normal way. It is not normal to be an Australian women and feel uncomfortable showing your face in front of men other than your immediate family because you believe “intermingling” between the sexes encourages adultery.

Perth District Court judge Shauna Deane clearly has the judicial power to maintain her own standards of conduct and respect in her own court. Let us hope she has the courage, or the conviction, that to be hidden from view for personal reasons might just be considered to hold the court, the judge, the jury and the public in contempt.

The beauty of our system is that, in this case, the witness has the right to refuse to attend.

UPDATE

The Prime Minister has worked out which side her electoral bread is buttered.

BURQAS should be removed when the public interest overrides personal choice, Prime Minister Julia Gillard says.

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