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 - War On Hijab

    MP calls for head scarf ban

    LIBERAL MPs Bronwyn Bishop and Sophie Panopolous have continued to the Federal Government's clamp down on Islamic practices, with Bronwyn Bishop today adding her voice to Sophie Panopolous' call for head scarves to be banned.

    Ms Bishop backed the view of outspoken Liberal MP Sophie Panopoulos, who last week said she was concerned about Muslim women not showing their faces when they posed for photographic identification.
    Ms Bishop today said the issue had been forced upon Australia, which was experiencing a clash of cultures.

    "In an ideal society you don't ban anything," she told the Seven Network.

    "But this has really been forced on us because what we're really seeing in our country is a clash of cultures and indeed, the headscarf is being used as a sort of iconic item of defiance," she told Channel Seven.

    "I'm talking about in state schools. If people are in Islamic schools and that's their uniform, that's fine. In private life, that's fine."

    But Muslim Women's Association president Maha Krayem Abdo said such a ban was dangerous, and that girls should be free to follow their religious beliefs at any Australian school.

    She agreed that in an ideal society nothing would be banned and said Australia had a leadership role to play on such issues.

    "I think it's so dangerous to go down that path if we think ... that in an ideal society we would not ban anything," she said.

    "And I think Australia takes on a leadership role in the world, that it is a fair-go society.

    "I don't see anything contravening that fair go and equality that Australia strives for – so the hijab, no way would it in any shape or form, contravene that."

    Ms Krayem Abdo said she found it difficult to comprehend the government's stated support for the freedom of Iraq, yet Ms Bishop's proposition was to prevent Australian Muslims from exercising freedom of religious rights.

    Last year France's parliament voted overwhelmingly to outlaw the wearing of Islamic headscarves in state schools, although concerns remain over whether that decision merely deepened divisions within French society.

    Australian Democrats leader Senator Lyn Allison has labelled Ms Bishop's comments as "deliberately divisive" and they encouraged religious and cultural separation.

    "I think BB is being deliberately divisive. I think that it is insensitive that young women for religious reasons who chose to wear a headscarf are somehow provoking a response from others," she said.

    "It seems to me that by saying that young people who go to state schools wish to wear a head scarf they can't but they can wear a head scarf if they go to a religious school.

    "What that says is that we want to be separated. It doesn't say we want integration and that we want to improve relations between cultural groups and religious groups.

    "It says if you are religious, you should go to a religious school.

    Education Minister Brendan Nelson said last week that he did not support a ban on headscarves.

    Source: Sunday Mail (Australia)

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