Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said today that he wishes the Islamic full body garment known as burqas were not worn by women at all, according to various media reports.
However, he aded that it is not the Australian government’s job to tell people what to wear.
Burqa refers to a full body garment with a semi-transparent slot to cover the eyes worn by women in some Islamic traditions to cover themselves when they are in public.
“Now I’ve said before I find it a fairly confronting form of attire and frankly I wish it weren’t worn,” said Abbott, The Sydney Morning Herald reported today.
He added, however, “We are free country, we are a free society and it’s not the business of government to tell people what they should and shouldn’t wear.”
Abbott’s comments appear to be an indication that he backs a proposed ban on burqas being worn inside Australia’s Parliament House.
“It is perfectly appropriate that in certain circumstances people be required to show their face. There can’t be one rule for one form of attire and a different rule for another form of attire,” said the primer minister, Australia’s ABC news outlet reported today.
“It has to be the same rules for everyone and if the rules require you to show your face, well, you show your face, he added. “This is a secure building and it is important that people be able to be identified, it is important that people be able to be recognized as the people for whom a pass has been issued,” also said Abbott.
The Prime Minister warned against blowing the issue out of proportion.
“Has anyone ever sought entry to this building so attired? As far as I am aware, no,” Abbott said. “And making a big song and dance about a hypothetical I am not sure is particularly helpful.”
“But I just want to stress that this is a secure building and it should be governed by the rules that are appropriate for a secure building and obviously people need to be identifiable in a secure building such as this,” he added.