Australia May Force Muslim Women to Remove Face Veils

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There is a proposal in Australia that would require Muslim women who wear a face veil to remove their veil at the request of a police officer. The law would carry penalties of a year in prison and a nearly $6,000 fine if the woman refuses.

The Associated Press reports that the bill is in response to a high-profile recent case involving a Muslim driver who was wearing a "niqab."

Civil libertarians are outraged, saying it smacks of anti-Muslim bias. Besides, they point out, of a population of 23 million, just 400,000 Australians are Muslim. Of those, only around 2,000 women wear veils, and most of them don't drive.

"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."

There is a growing concern in the Western world over face veils. France and Belgium have banned niqabs in public. The common argument is security -- that police need to be able to identify people.

How about here in the United States. There is no policy about wearing face veils in public. But do you think there should be? Or should women be required to remove them if asked by police -- or for driver's license photos? What should the policy be?


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