burqa1The Prime Minister has now joined the debate about proposals to ban the burqa.

Mr Cope, President of the QCCL, said today, “The government has no more right to ban the wearing of the burqa in public than it has to compel people to wear the burqa in public.”

It is fundamental that the State should not be telling citizens what they should wear, so long as they are wearing something.

Mr Cope said, “The QCCL accepts that there are legitimate reasons for individuals to be required to show their face no matter what their religious predilections. In appropriate circumstances security can require individuals to show their face. Obvious examples are boarding planes and entering banks. However, a ban on the wearing of the burqa in public has no justification whatsoever.”

The fact that some people, including apparently the Prime Minister, are uncomfortable with women wearing burqas is irrelevant. Some people are uncomfortable with tattoos. The State has no interest in these matters.

In addition, banning the burqa is likely to result in some women being in effect imprisoned in their homes.

Mr Cope said, “Taking such a step is only likely to inflame the passions of those parts of the community who are already most susceptible to the advances of extremists.”

Finally it is worth noting that in the context of the discussion of this issue in France it was revealed that only .0003% of French women (some 2,000) wore the burqa and some 50% of those were Western born converts.