Tony Abbott says burqa is ‘confronting’
OPPOSITION Leader Tony Abbott has labelled the burqa a “particularly confronting” piece of clothing amid calls from coalition colleagues for them to be banned in Australia.
The comments come as a Perth judge is set to decide this week whether a Muslim woman can wear a full burqa while giving evidence before a jury in a fraud case.
WA District Court Judge Shauna Deane is due to hear submissions on Thursday from lawyers for the prosecution and defence regarding the witness who wishes to wear the burqa.
The woman is a strict Muslim who does not want to show her face to men.
Mr Abbott on Wednesday weighed into the debate, saying the burqa should not be worn in Australia.
“I find the burqa a particularly confronting form of attire and I would very much wish that fewer Australians would choose it,” Mr Abbott said when asked about the case in Perth.
Earlier in August, Liberal senator Cory Bernardi called for Australia to follow the lead of France and ban the burqa, linking it to the “expansion of fundamentalist Islam”.
“This is a system where women are considered as second class citizens and homosexuals can be hanged,” Senator Bernardi said.
“We need to stop the expansion of fundamentalist Islam in Australia lest we lose the foundation, the essence, the very culture of our great nation.”
France’s lower house voted overwhelmingly to ban the wearing of face-covering veils in public.
Similar laws are pending in Belgium, Spain and some Italian municipalities.
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