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Wear What You Like?

by Des Moore


Is it OK to wear anything you like? Well, of course ...but wait a minute, do you mean at home or in public? Of course, in public we have to wear something, even those pretty young girls (and some older ones too!) who seem to be drawing attention to certain features, like ...

So, we ban public nudity because its indecent (except on special reserved beaches) and because most of us don’t really want to see all of it. But we don’t ban complete cover ups?

Correct. As our Premier is reported as say in today’s Herald Sun, it’s quite OK for intending (or escaping) criminals to do that because that allows them to avoid being identified or (as former Victorian Police Commissioner Falconer points out) makes searching difficult. And it is quite OK too for women to wear burqas or even nikabs because after all they are “just bits of clothing” and we know that those wearing them are doing it purely for ... well what?

Naturally, they are just adopting what is accepted practice in a religion that believes in peace and rejects violence, except ... well, except when told by an imam that sometimes violence is needed to ... And we know that men would not think of wearing a female uniform ... except apparently when (as the Sydney robber did) they wear sunglasses to complete the disguise - or perhaps when as in Afghanistan they are in disguise with criminal or military intent.

Quite tricky, isn’t it when you think about what it all means. Even trickier when you realise that the burka is a symbol of a religion which has an extremist element whose object  is to kill individuals in our society (including even those of the same faith), and to destroy our capital structures, purely on religious grounds.

Of course, Australia has a security policy that carefully checks the 30% or so of immigrants that come from countries where the dominant religion is Islam. In 2008-09 security succeeded in checking 60,000 of the over 4,000,000 visas issued. Well done chaps, that ensured that we minimised the number of extremists coming from overseas. No need to tighten our immigration policy when we have such splendid security checks.

And don’t overlook that we also have domestic security and intelligence services that carefully check those already here who wrongly interpret the Islamic religion as endorsing violence. This is why we have kept the number of terrorist convictions in Australia down to only 26. No London bombings for us.

And, despite what you might think from media reports critical of the efficiency of our governments, Prime Minister Rudd shed his burka back in 2008 and recognised that Australia has been “explicitly and publicly mentioned as an enemy by Islamic extremists”. He soon became, however, very busy then dealing with the Global Financial Crisis and it took a year or so for him to issue the long-promised Counter-Terrorism White Paper. True, that said little more about the extremist threat but, rest assured, our Kevin has the right eye space in his burka to establish the balance between protecting us against Islamic extremists and protecting individuals’ right to wear symbols of an extremist religion. So, don’t be divisive: we can ignore those like Senator Bernardi trying to stir up trouble and just get on with life.

Des Moore  

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