A possie in Aussie

August 7, 2009

Remove your hat! It’s the immigration department!

Filed under: citizenship,racism,Uncategorized — Nayano @ 10:18 am
Tags: , , ,

The Sydney Daily Telegraph reports that a female bus passenger was at first denied, and then delayed from boarding while wearing the niqab (a veil that fully covered her face). The driver is alleged to have asked the passenger to take off her “mask” because it was “against the law to wear it on board”. The passenger argued that she was not wearing a “mask” Bus firm accused of thinly-veiled racism

She eventually won the argument and was able to travel.

Blogger Jonathan Ariel at Online Opinion says that, if it is not actually against the law to wear a niqab, ‘it should be’ Veiled threat: separating mosque from mass transit

Ariel argues that bus passes and other photo ID would be rendered useless if the niqab could not be removed for identification purposes.

There is also the question of banks and other premises that ask that headgear that conceals the face, like helmets, be removed.

There is no question for the Department of Immigration – if you want an Australian passport your face must be clearly visible in the photo. Nothing worn on the head is allowed:

No hat, cap, or sunglasses on the head allowed

No hat, cap, or sunglasses on the head allowed

But for religious reasons head coverings are allowed, with provisos:Photo does not show face edgesPhoto with face covered

Allowed Islamic head covering

It may well have been that the niqab just made the driver uncomfortable – or that the driver just doesn’t like Islamic clothing – but in general it is not racist to require anyone to mnake themselves identifiable when there is a legitimate need.

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