Skip to comments.Witnesses should remove veils, says Muslim MP
Posted on 10/30/2004 10:13:57 AM PDT by Pikamax
Witnesses should remove veils, says Muslim MP 29 October 2004 By VERNON SMALL and SOPHIE NEVILLE
New Zealand's first Muslim MP says two women fighting to keep their faces covered while they give evidence in court should remove their veils at all times and integrate into New Zealand society.
Labour MP Ashraf Choudhary said he did not believe wearing veils was required by the women's religion.
"Clearly I don't believe they should be covering their faces anywhere in public," he said.
"It is not what the Koran says. I don't support this view that women should be covered."
In a case before an Auckland court which is attracting world attention, Fouzya Salim has said she would rather kill herself than uncover her face as a fraud trial witness.
"If I uncover my face then I would be in trouble with God."
Another witness, Feraiba Razamjoo, also wants to remain veiled.
Mr Choudhary said Muslim men and women had to dress modestly, but face-covering was more cultural than religious.
"I think they should integrate in local society and become part of local customs. That does not mean they should go out and expose themselves, but generally (integrate).
"While New Zealand is a secular state and does not discriminate on race, religion or ethnicity and protects human rights of all religious and ethnic minorities, this is not a country for extremists or extremist views," he said.
Some conservative Muslims believed otherwise but most educated and learned people were of the opinion face-covering was not required.
Mr Choudhary said the decision on whether burqas should be removed in court was a matter for the judge, and he was not trying to interfere in the decision.
NZ First leader Winston Peters said Mrs Salim might be better living in a Muslim country. It was a simple case about whether New Zealanders lived under one set of rules for all.
"Most New Zealanders would be disturbed that a person who prefers suicide to complying with reasonable court rules was living in their midst."
But a spokeswoman for Islamic woman says removing a face veil in court would be as humiliating for Muslims as standing in the dock naked would be for New Zealanders.
Islamic Women's Council member Anjum Rahman said the embarrassment and shame would probably mean they would not turn up.
Most Muslim women chose not to wear the full veil but head scarves and burqa had "deeply significant religious and cultural meaning" and being forced to remove them would be devastating.
She questioned defence lawyer Colin Amery's assertion the burqa would be used as a disguise.
"They would never decide a case on facial expressions or body language. I don't see how having her face covered is going to stop Mr Amery from badgering her or trying to catch her out lying."
Ms Rahman said she was pleased the hearing was happening because it was a "test case" and a vital human rights issue, but she hoped there would be "a favourable outcome".
"I do hope they come out with some respect for people's feelings and respect for human rights."
Get rid of the veils. If the woman decides to kill herself, so be it. One thing is clear: another will take her place.
OK. Show of hands...
Is there not some kind of law about keeping your face hidden? You have to be able to be identified, etc...not look like a secretive criminal.
If there isn't, there should be.
I was shopping once and was unaware there was someone standing behind me until the person moved a bit. I turned around and it was a big black burka. Nearly scared the life out of me! I thought it was Darth Vadar!
Plus they drive in that gear up here...I don't agree with that. They cannot have the clear line of vision necessary for safe driving.
But then we are so intimidated by them, we wouldn't dare say anything they don't want to hear. Pity.
yea,,but then, they would have to put make-up on!!!!!!!!!
The fact that this "religion" is even debating whether women should cover their faces shows how ridiculous it is. Islam should be eradicated from the face of the Earth. Its only goal is a totalitarian radical Islamic world where dissenters are murdered. There isn't a Muslim on the face of the Earth that I trust. If that's bigotry, so be it. When Muslims wait years, pretending to be peaceful so they can surprise their victims with a vicious act of terror, such as occurred on 9/11, it is all the proof I need that the world would be a better place without them.
Fouzya Salim has said she would rather kill herself than uncover her faceShe must be pretty freakin ugly.