The Australian government has lifted its ban on Islamic veils worn by women in parliament.
Australia has reversed its earlier ban on Islamic veils or full-face coverings in the the parliament after prime minister Tony Abbot intervened. Earlier in October 2014, the parliament had dictated that women who wear veils would have restricted access to the House of Representatives in Canberra and would have to sit separately in the public gallery.
Targeted at Muslim women wearing niqabs or burqas, the move received wide accusations of discrimination. The head of the senate, while stating reasons for the decision, said that the ban on Islamic veils was made due to circulating rumors that a few people had planned to wear veils and stage protests during Abbott’s address on October 2, 2014. Moreover, the move was temporary and had never been enforced.
According to the rule, people with face coverings would have had to remove their veil at security check points to identify those who may have been previously banned. The rule was announced at the end of the final sitting day of the parliament’s two week session. It was made under the influence of concern about terror attacks in Australia and involvement of Australian jihadists in the Islamic State (IS) militant group fighting in Iraq and Syria.
Currently, Australia has about 500,000 Muslims, which is two percent of the country’s population.
Photo Credits: perfectionist.net