Most Australians would seem to accept personal decorations as an expression of personal freedom. A fashion favoured some years ago by Italian soccer football players of a facial growth of a few days has now been adopted by many players of other sports; the outcome is not always an aesthetic success. It has also been believed generally that some young Australians decorate their heads and faces in order to reduce their chances of employment. Making fashion statements by wearing an undergarment over an outer garment does not seem to make much of an impact. Decorating one’s head by wearing a hat or other head covering can enhance one’s public appearance. Wearing head gear such as a skull cap, turban, or scarf to reflect cultural tradition arouses no more than passing curiosity.
However, a ‘walking tent’ or an approaching person whose whole face is covered except for the eyes is little different from an approaching person wearing a motor cycle helmet – an unidentifiable individual. Would it be surprising that, in a modern cosmopolitan city where harm is possibly a whisker away, some of us become a little apprehensive at being approached by the visions described above?
People from all over the world have rubbed shoulders (so to speak) on Australia streets until recently without any of them claiming stridently to be different, the difference being a projected aura of cultural superiority by the newcomer. Of course, immigration selection was once careful not to allow immigrants who might not accept and live by the nation’s ethos. Now we seem to be collecting entrants as if there is a shortage in the supply line, and without adequate regard for inter-community social cohesion.
The following extracts from ‘Musings at Death’s Door’ touch upon this issue.
“The full body-covering niqab, said to be necessary to protect the modesty of women in the presence of apparently ever-lustful men, hasn’t been seen on Moslem boat people seeking asylum. I also wonder if the men supporting the niqab suffer from a permanent erection when surrounded by Australian women of a range of ethnicities who are dressed ordinarily.
Then, imagine driving through Sydney traffic wearing a niqab; how much necessary peripheral vision would be avail¬
able? Imagine too a security guard’s problem when a niqab-wearing person enters his bank; male of female, friend or foe? In some countries the guard would shoot first, as no one with a face covering, say, a motorcycle helmet, could enter the premises without removing the helmet.
This is sheer cultural arrogance! Human rights avail¬able in a free Australian society are being used against the ethos of Australia. I suspect that most cosmopolitan Aussies, including earlier immigrants, would wish niqab lovers a happy life in another country offering compatible cultural values (perhaps with sharia law thrown in). “