Dick Gross;10/5/10, (3 Items)
There is a financial contagion threatening to sweep Europe but another contagion, just as destructive, is going pan European – Islamophobia. The French started it with the prohibition of the veil in schools. It has now extended to prohibitions on Islamic practices in Switzerland and Belgium. Liberal Senator Cory Bernardi in his blog and in The National Times argued that some of the prohibitions should leap the Pacific and come here. Amazingly 81 per cent of National Times readers agreed with him in an (admittedly unscientific) poll of more than 10,000 respondents. Ah one can never go wrong spewing out racial divisiveness. This dog whistle has worked. Bernardi must be rapt.
The burqa’s not un-Australian, but banning it sure is
John Birmingham; 11/5/10
What is it about the burqa that excites such passions? There aren’t even that many of them in this country, really. There has to be plenty of other fashion crimes that should be outlawed first; a couple of inches worth of underpants poking up above low slung jeans comes to mind. But the Opposition Leader’s budgie smugglers stay. As one twitter wit pointed out the other day, the burqa may indeed be a little confronting, but a fully packed pair of Speedos coming at you in glorious high definition on the fat screen Bravia during the six o’clock news are even more so.You’ve got to wonder what Abbott’s parliamentary secretary Cory Bernardi was hoping to achieve with last week’s anti-burqa jihad. He wasn’t pushing Liberal Party policy, although at a stretch I suppose you could fashion his foray into fashion criticism as a bit of a ham fisted attempt at, err … refashioning Liberal Party policy, at least on the issue of ladies’ fashion. Even the Mad Monk seemed a little nonplussed when called upon to comment.
The burka is a barrier
Cory Bernardi is absolutely right in calling for the wearing of the (full face) burka to be banned (“Burka ban bid widely panned”, 8-9/5). Australia is richer for the diverse cultural traditions it has embraced. However, there are still core values that should be non-negotiable. One of these is that women, like men, are able to engage with, and participate in, the broader community. The burka makes this impossible. The repression of women it represents, and the barrier it places between the women required to wear it and the rest of society, are an affront to our core values. Jim Neely,Curtin, ACT
See: More letters: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/opinion/the-burka-is-a-barrier/story-fn558imw-1225865236814