Aus­tralian sen­a­tor ar­gues for burqa ban in pub­lic places

The Myanmar Times - Weekend - - World - SEPTEM­BER 15, 2017

AN Aus­tralian sen­a­tor who a month ago pro­voked an an­gry back­lash by wear­ing a burqa in Par­lia­ment urged law­mak­ers on Thurs­day to ban full­face Is­lamic cov­er­ings in pub­lic places.

Pauline Han­son, leader of the an­timus­lim, anti-im­mi­gra­tion One Na­tion mi­nor party, was ar­gu­ing for pro­posed laws that she in­tro­duced into the Se­nate that would make wear­ing full-face cov­er­ings an of­fense pun­ish­able by a 4,200 Aus­tralian dol­lar ($3,400) fine. Com­pelling oth­ers to wear such cov­er­ings would carry a pri­son sen­tence of up to six months and an AU$42,000 fine. She pro­poses sev­eral ex­empt cir­cum­stances in­clud­ing en­ter­tain­ment and sport.

Three se­na­tors in­clud­ing Han­son ar­gued over her bill be­fore a ma­jor­ity of se­na­tors shut down de­bate un­til a later date.

Han­son, an outspoken fan of Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, sat in the Se­nate last month wear­ing black head-toan­kle gar­ments for more than 10 min­utes be­fore re­mov­ing the veil.

Her ac­tions were widely con­demned by se­na­tors as in­sult­ing to Mus­lims, al­though it sparked pub­lic de­bate for and against her ac­tions across Aus­tralia for days later.

“My rea­son­ing to wear the burqa into this cham­ber was seen as a stunt, call it what you want, I re­ally don’t care,” Han­son told the Se­nate on Thurs­day.

“Be­cause the whole fact is that it’s got Aus­tralians talk­ing and Aus­tralians feel now they have a voice and it’s cre­ated de­bate,” she added.

Prime Min­is­ter Mal­colm Turn­bull has ruled out his con­ser­va­tive gov­ern­ment ever ban­ning Is­lamic face cov­er­ings.

But gov­ern­ment’s A BOAT crowded with con­struc­tion work­ers cap­sised in the Ya­muna River in north­ern In­dia early Thurs­day and at least 19 peo­ple have drowned, of­fi­cials said.

A search is un­der­way for miss­ing pas­sen­gers, said se­nior po­lice of­fi­cer Ram Ku­mar.

More than 60 peo­ple were on the boat when it cap­sized near Bagh­pat town in Ut­tar Pradesh state early Thurs­day.

At least 10 peo­ple swam to safety while about 31 pas­sen­gers are miss­ing. Nine­teen bod­ies had been pulled out of the river, Ku­mar said.

Au­thor­i­ties were in­ves­ti­gat­ing, though they be­lieve over­crowd­ing was a likely cause. The boat had a ca­pac­ity for only 35 pas­sen­gers, said district mag­is­trate Bhawani Singh.

The work­ers crossed the river ev­ery day to their place of work in Bagh­pat, Singh said.

Ac­ci­dents are com­mon in In­dia as many fer­ries are poorly built and of­ten over­crowded, and there is lit­tle re­gard for safety reg­u­la­tions.

Heavy mon­soon rains have flooded rivers in parts of In­dia, where boats are of­ten the main mode of trans­port in re­mote ar­eas. – AP part­ner, the Na­tion­als party, on Sun­day nar­rowly re­jected an at­tempt to make such a ban party pol­icy. The party’s an­nual con­fer­ence re­jected a pro­posed burqa ban 55 votes to 51.

Deputy Prime Min­is­ter Barn­aby Joyce, the Na­tion­als’ leader, had ar­gued at the con­fer­ence against such a ban, say­ing it could dam­age Aus­tralia’s trade re­la­tions with Mus­lim-ma­jor­ity coun­tries in­clud­ing Saudi Ara­bia and In­done­sia. Han­son on Thurs­day said the Na­tion­als were “clearly very di­vided on this.”

Sam Dast­yari, an op­po­si­tion sen­a­tor and an Ira­nian-born Mus­lim, told the Se­nate the burqa ar­gu­ment was “a ridicu­lous de­bate.”

Mus­lims ac­count for fewer than 3 per­cent of Aus­tralia’s Chris­tian-ma­jor­ity pop­u­la­tion of 24 mil­lion.

The French Par­lia­ment passed an act more than six years ago to ban the niqab and burqa, the full-face or face­and-body cov­er­ings worn by some Mus­lim women, in pub­lic places. Oth­ers have since fol­lowed. -AP

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One Na­tion Leader Sen­a­tor Pauline Han­son takes off a full Is­lamic burqa veil dur­ing Se­nate Ques­tion Time at Par­lia­ment House in Can­berra, Aus­tralian Cap­i­tal Ter­ri­tory, Aus­tralia, 17 Au­gust 2017. Photo: EPA

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