Muslim women in parts of Western Australia would be required to remove their face coverings upon police request under a new controversial veil law proposed in one of the country’s state legislatures.
Under the new law, women who defy police officers’ orders to raise their veils could be sentenced up to a year in prison and be fined close to $6,000.
The heavily debated law, which according to the government would prevent motorists and criminal suspects from covering their head so that they could be identified by police, is being called culturally insensitive and biased by critics.
Opposition to the proposed bill say that out of a population of 23 million, only 400,000 Australians are Muslim and of those less than 2,000 are women that wear veils on a daily basis.
“It does seem to be very heavy handed, and there doesn’t seem to be a need,” said Australian Council for Civil Liberties spokesman David Bernie. “It shows some cultural insensitivity.”
The Western Australia initiative comes after New South Wales approved a similar law – a person must remove their head-covering but only when suspected of a serious crime and not when asked to do so for simple identification purposes – this week.
via NY Daily News