On the way to school this morning I was once again dumbfounded by the sheer blinding cluelessness of politicians on multicultural issues. This time it was the New South Wales backbencher Bronwyn Bishop proposing that the government ban moslem girls from wearing head scarves in schools.
Coming a week after the government ran a meeting with Moslem leaders to promote dialogue and understanding this comes out as promoting the exact opposite.
Now although I don’t agree with it at all, there is nothing legally to stop the government saying that you can’t wear religious symbols to school, but any rule has to apply to everyone, not just muslim girls wearing head scarves. It has to be an equal opportunity opression, stopping christians wearing crosses, catholics carrying rosaries, jews wearing a kippah, and so on. The fact that she was focusing on only one group shows that it is not a matter of opression, but simply a matter of racism, which is far far more disgusting in a supposedly human rights embracing parliamentary democracy.
Subsequently the PM came out this afternoon and quashed the idea, although his reasoning was because such a ban would be “Difficult and rather impractical” to enforce.
I think that Greens senator Kerry Nettle was wholely correct when he made the observation that: “The right to wear a headscarf if you are a Muslim schoolgirl is surely a matter of cultural and religious freedom, which the Prime Minister appears not to understand. Freedom of religion is an Australian value – that is the message John Howard should be sending – not that banning headscarves is simply impractical.”
As a side note I’ll also be interested to see what comes of the law suit that the 10 year old imigration detainee has filed against the government, especially given that the Australian Human Rights Commission ruled that his continued detention was unjust 3 years ago.