Why you should support a public ban of full-face coverings
Yesterday’s reachTEL poll showing wide support for the banning of the burqa would have been a wakeup call for many politicians in Canberra, proving what was already obvious to myself and many other Australians. It proved that I am not alone in understanding that full-face coverings, like the burqa and the niqab, are objects of oppression, symbols of extremism and present an obvious security threat to our nation. This is why they should be banned in public.
Predictably, as I sought to raise awareness of this issue on behalf of all those in Australia who feel constrained by political correctness and unrepresented on the floor of parliament, my opponents have already sought to blame me for crimes, both current and future, committed by individuals using full face covering.
This is a disgusting political game. Are those talking about domestic violence to raise awareness accused of encouraging it? No and those who have accused me of encouraging crimes, even future acts of terrorism, still owe me an apology.
This is what I am talking about when I say many Australians feel that they have been silenced. Many people live in fear of raising a legitimate concern about oppression, discrimination or security because they will be howled down.
Criticism is not violence, words are not violence. Any act of violence in response to my peaceful words and actions rests solely on the head of the perpetrator.
My political opponents and many in the media have tried to obscure my arguments for the banning of full-face coverings, saying my argument was only for security. This is incorrect. Following my appearance wearing the burqa I delivered a speech in parliament and spoke about the barrier to social cohesion, and relationship formation necessary for a harmonious community, that full-face coverings in public inflict on the wearer.
I spoke about the many women across the world and in Australia, who have oppressive garments, like the burqa, forced upon them by husbands, fathers and the other men in their family.
What’s more, as many Islamic scholars have pointed out, and as I have repeatedly stated, the burqa is not a religious requirement of Islam but has come to be a symbol of fundamental Islam and extremism.
I also spoke about the growing political pressure shutting down conversation in this country, with the Muslim vote clustered in 15 Federal parliamentary seats restraining any proper debate on the issue.
Given the significant cost of the forthcoming plebiscite on same-sex marriage, the Government should take the opportunity to add the question about full-face covering in public. So often politicians claim to speak for the majority of Australians so why not give the majority the chance to have their say on this issue?
Senator Brandis has a right to his view on my decision to wear a burqa into the Senate last week but he is both arrogant and wrong when he presumes to speak for most Australians.
We have a chance to ask the question and find out the answer so we should take it. I like millions of others want to be able to have the much needed debate on the future direction of Australia without being called racist. It should be remembered that Muslim is not a race.
Muslims are peoples from over fifty countries who speak different languages, have different ethnicities and different shared history.
I plan on replying to Senator Brandis when the Senate sits next in September.
Senator for Queensland.