Canberra: A national day of protest in Australia demanding the burqa be banned has raised fears it could provoke riots in the nation.
An ‘anti-burqa’ group on Facebook created a ‘Ban the Burqa day’ page that called on members to wear a balaclava, mask or "anything to cover " to imitate a burqa in an event demanding burqas to be outlawed.
But Islamic leaders labelled the event racist, and campaigners believe that the move could provoke ‘2005 Cronulla riot-style’ hysteria, the Herald Sun reports.
Organiser Kye Keating, 20, instigated the protest with two friends via Facebook after Sydney woman Carnita Matthews used her burqa to quash a jail sentence for deliberately making a false statement to police.
But many have said they are disappointed with Keating`s apparent lack of knowledge on the topic, and called the idea of ‘Ban the Burqa Day’ event ‘absurd’ and ‘irrational’.
Islamic Council of Victoria director Nazeem Hussain said that fewer than 3,000 Muslim women who wore burqas in Australia had no problem taking the garment off for police, who have power to demand identification.
“This kind of mass demonstration, this mass show of intolerance is just that,” Hussain said.
"I would say it`s hysteria reminiscent of Cronulla,” Hussain added.