The idea that this would be disputed in a Western nation is sick enough -- faces must be uncovered. Anyone could come and go as someone else, not to mention the security implications. End of story.
As a woman, the burka is the most insulting garment on the face of the earth. Vicious, vile and misogynistic. Worse, I am admonished and told I must "respect" a cloth coffin that completely disrespects all women.
But the obvious question was never addressed, was the baby a girl? That would make complete sense."Islamic woman told she cannot wear full-face burqa in Brisbane court " Kay Dibben, The Courier Mail, June 12, 2013, thanks to Kenneth
A MAGISTRATE has questioned whether a Saudi woman appearing in court should have been allowed to wear "a full burqa'' or face covering, telling her "this is an Australian court".
Brisbane Magistrate John Costello was sentencing a woman who pleaded guilty to leaving her baby, four and half months, unattended in a car in direct sun for 45 minutes last year.
Mr Costello asked the woman's lawyer Peter Saggers if what she was wearing was "a full burqa'' and he indicated it was.
"I can only see the eyes of that defendant,'' Mr Costello said.
The magistrate questioned whether it was "appropriate'' for the full burqa to be worn in court, saying: "This is an Australian court'' and he queried "the validity'' of her wearing it in court.
But Islamic groups yesterday came out in support of Mr Costello, saying they supported magistrates asking women to remove their face covering if there was a reasonable question of security or identification.
Mr Saggers told the magistrate the woman, 27, was from Saudi Arabia and said: "I have not seen her dressed in any other way.''
Mr Costello then proceeded to sentence the female student, without requiring her to remove her face covering, more commonly called a niqab when it reveals the eyes.
Islamic Council of Queensland president Mohammed Yusuf said he opposed any blanket law requiring women wearing burqa or niqab to show their face.
But he said the Islamic council would not object to a magistrate asking a woman to remove her face covering if there was a reasonable question of security or identification.
Mr Yusuf said individual cases could be handled with sensitivity, with the woman taken into another room for identification by a female police or court officer.
Yasmin Khan, president of Islamic community festival Eidsfest, said magistrates should be able to ask women wearing a burqa or niqab to remove their facial covering in court.
"Where justice and security are an issue women should identify by at least showing their face, to identify the person who has been charged,'' Ms Khan said.
She said another person could falsely pose as an accused person by wearing a face covering.
"Judges and magistrates are acutely alive to the sensitivity of these situations. They respect the requirements of particular religions,'' Queensland Chief Justice Paul de Jersey said yesterday.
"They would request removal of a burqa only if necessary for the due determination of a proceeding - if, for example, the identity of an alleged offender were in issue.''
Deputy Anti-Discrimination Commissioner Neroli Holmes said the Anti-Discrimination Act did not apply to court directions.
She said it was not unlawful discrimination to respectfully ask someone to remove headwear if it was required "for purposes of reasonable legitimate public safety or identification''.
An Islamic woman should be asked to remove her headwear in a respectful way and not in the presence of men, where possible, Ms Holmes said.
A Brisbane Muslim teenager recently complained to Queensland's Anti-Discrimination Commission of being held against her will in a service station, after refusing to remove her full burqa.
In yesterday's court case Mr Costello sentenced the woman to a six-month good behaviour bond.
The court heard the woman and her husband, who also was charged, left their baby in the car, in direct sunlight with windows wound up, for 45 minutes. A nurse called police.