NSW Parliament rejects veil ban bill

The Reverend Fred Nile today tried to introduce a bill to the NSW Parliament calling for a ban on the burqa, a head and body veil worn by some Muslim women. But his motion to have a private member’s bill read and debated failed by three votes to 29 – only he and two Shooters’ Party members voted for it.

The Christian Democrats MP wanted NSW to follow a growing list of European countries that have moved to ban women from wearing the full head and body covering in public.

Mr Nile’s Full-face Coverings Prohibition Bill was modelled on legislation recently passed by the Belgium Parliament. He says concealment of a person’s face – male or female – for any purpose, including terrorism, anarchism or discrimination against women, should be banned.

“We must do all we can to protect women, especially Muslim women, from discrimination and oppression so they live an open lifestyle,” Mr Nile said. “The wearing of the burqa is a form of oppression which has no place in the 21st century.” It also presented a security risk, he said, citing terrorists in the Middle East and Russia who had launched attacks while concealing their identity or weapons under a burqa.

Mr Nile introduced a similar bill in 2006 and 2002, prompting widespread condemnation.

Sydney Morning Herald, 20 May 2010

Catch the video of Reza Aslan commenting on the French plan to ban the veil.

See also “Burqa debate stopped in NSW upper house”, Sydney Morning Herald, 20 May 2010