On Wednesday a gunman wearing a full black burqa and sunglasses robbed a man in a Sydney carpark. Subsequently, a South Australian senator has dubbed the burqa un-Australian and called for it to be banned.
The burqa is worn by women of several Islamic societies and covers the face, hair and body with a mesh opening for the eyes. It is donned whenever a woman is in the presence of a man who is not her husband or in her immediate family; ie. whenever the she ventures out of the home.
The burqa has so far been outlawed in France and Belgium. Politicians have sited the emancipation of women and the integration of foreign nationals as the reason for the ban. But women who are denied wearing the burqa in public will be neither emancipated or integrated.
On Monday in the north-west city of Novara, Italy a Tunisian woman was fined 500 euros for wearing a burqa in public. The mayor of Novara commented, "There are still some people that refuse to understand that our community in Novara does not accept and does not want people going around wearing the burqa."
Absent in most reports of the incident is this information:
[The Tunisian woman's] husband said his wife would continue to wear the burqa as he did not want other men to see her. He said she would have to stay at home.
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has said that the burqa will not be banned in Australia despite a poll saying that 88% of Herald Scum readers would be happy with the ban.
My feelings on the burqa aside, I can't help but be furious with any country who imposes such a ill-thought law--one that is supposedly* for the emancipation of Islamic women but will in fact result in their becoming imprisoned to an even greater degree. I hope the community of Novara will feel more comfortable knowing that the burqa will no longer be visible on their streets and a Tunisian woman is now a prisoner in her own home. Emancipation indeed.
*The stress being on supposedly. I sincerely doubt this is the reason.