Muslim women in Australia to remove burqa for proving identity

Last Updated: Friday, November 1, 2013 - 15:29

Melbourne: Muslim women would now be asked to remove burqa or niqab to prove their identity to the police, according to a new law introduced in an Australian state.

The law which was passed yesterday in the state Parliament was amended after consultation with the Muslim and Sikh Communities, AAP news agency said.

Western Australian (WA) acting Police Minister John Day said, "Initially, the legislation stated police would be able to require someone to remove their head wear for the purposes of identification.”

"However, following consultation with the Muslim and Sikh communities, the government agreed to change the word head wear to face covering. The change had removed "some" of the concerns of the communities, while police had advised it was acceptable."

He said, "So I am confident a satisfactory compromise has been reached."

The new law would enable the state police to take DNA from suspects, with the definition of "identifying particular" expanded to permit the taking of dental impressions, hair samples and other body tissues.

"It would also provide a process for applying to a magistrate for a warrant when samples are needed from juvenile suspects who have not been charged when there is no responsible person, or they cannot be found, or it is impracticable to make requests to them," the AAP report said.

The law was incepted following a public outcry over the case of a Burqa wearing woman, Carnita Matthews, whose conviction for `knowingly making a false statement` was quashed.

The accused was first sentenced to a six-month jail for falsely accusing a senior constable of forcibly trying to remove her burqa when she was pulled over while driving in Woodbine in Sydney`s southwest in June 2010.

However, she was later acquitted as the prosecution failed to prove that she was the one who signed the statement while wearing the veil.

PTI

First Published: Friday, November 1, 2013 - 15:29

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