Banning the Niqab Gains Momentum in Australia
16th September 2010
The United Muslim Women Association Inc, as an organization representing Muslim Women in NSW for nearly 30 years would like to take this opportunity to state its position on the proposed “community rally”, to take place on Sunday 19th September 2010 at Parry Park, Lakemba.
Whilst there is no doubt that Muslim minority communities all over the world are facing fierce opposition to the free practice of their faith, we do not believe that a community rally in Lakemba will address any real concerns.
The Rally is advertised as a call to protest the proposed Bill before the NSW Parliament calling for a ban on face coverings. We would say that that such a community response is a little late in coming – as all major political parties have issued public statements stating that they do not support such a law. We have not stood back as Australian Muslims and allowed the rest of society to speak on our behalf or debate matters associated with our faith, we have made every endeavour to voice our concerns, and in this case we have been successful.
We acknowledge that this won’t be the end of this debate in Australia, for our recent past has taught us that this issue will come up again and again. We see this as an ideal opportunity to work on a larger community initiative, one aimed at educating and informing the wider community about the importance of religious requirements of dress for Australian Muslim Women. Such an initiative should be one that projects the voice of Australian Muslim Women and their views about how they practice their faith in Australia.
We do not believe that having a local community rally protesting global issues will go any way to achieve such an objective. Rather, it is likely that the rally will perpetuate feelings of fear and victimhood amongst the Muslim Community, something that we should not be promoting.
Public Affairs Advisory Committee
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The Veil of Discretion