One letter to the editor has shaken the “burqa ban” to its foundation 18



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The raging discussion over the “Ban the burqa” issue in France has seen a lot of talk from both sides. However, one letter to the editor sheds a whole new perspective on the issue.

The letter, written by Henry Stewart of London, has gone viral on the internet and garnered a lot of attention. Some of it is good and some bad, this is the internet after all. In his letter about the banning Henry said:

“No woman in a burqa (or a hijab or a burkini) has ever done me any harm. But I was sacked (without explanation) by a man in a suit. Men in suits missold me pensions and endowments, costing me thousands of pounds. A man in a suit led us on a disastrous and illegal war. Men in suits led the banks and crashed the world economy. Other men in suits then increased the misery to millions through austerity. If we are to start telling people what to wear, maybe we should ban suits.”

The bans have been revoked after legal challenges, and despite some government officials still fighting to have the bans, seems to be staying that way for the time being. Al Jazeera has reported that at least 30 fines were already issued since the ban was introduced.

Do you think the comparison is justified? How do you feel about the government potentially telling you what you can and can’t wear? To Henry’s point who has caused you more problems in your life a woman in a burkini on a beach or a man in a suit?

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. Ban both. The Burqas, takes the freedom from the woman. The suit shows authority in the Business person. There is a conundrum here. Would you go see your Bank Manager/Insurance Broker, if he greeted you in shorts and sandals. Of course not. But to see a woman forced by custom to wear total covering in wester society is galling to us all. The major problem here is the matter of choice. The Business Man has the choice of Suit or Casual. The Woman has no choice at all, and that is the difference in our society. I’m all for the ban on the Burqua because it is degrading to the woman and is alien to our culture. Also there are only 2 choices in colour. Black with Veil or Blue with peep hole screen for viewing.

    4 REPLY
    • Most of the women who wear the Burqua in Australia choose to do so. They are not forced to wear it. I can not speak for overseas but certainly here all we would be doing by banning the Burqua would be taking away a womans freedom of choice in apparel.

      1 REPLY
      • All the Muslim women I know choose to wear it. Their husbands don’t make them. I think France is taking away women’s rights to wear what they want. It is a step back for women everywhere.

    • I couldn’t give two hoots what the bank manager wears as long he doesn’t try to rip me of

  2. I don’t have a problem with what men or women want to wear from the waist neck down, what I do have a problem with is anything that covers the face and hinders identification, and that includes hoodies. In this day and age it is imperative that people who do the wrong thing can be identified. It would be quite easy for men to dress in a full burqa and proceed to be involved in crime/terrorism without suspicion being cast on them initially.
    If that is the dress of choice in their country then that is fine, in our country it is not. Incidentally I recently visited Dubai and there were very few women that I saw in full burqa. Not that you see many women in Dubai. In saying that, I respected their culture and I wore long sleeves and long pants whilst I was there, even though it was 40 odd degrees. I think it is about time that we took a stand. These people are not guests in our country, they are living here and they need to embrace our cultures and our way of life. It is simple. At this stage we are very lucky not to have experienced the atrocities that have occurred overseas and I fully support the banning of the burqa in those countries. At least they have the guts to implement it. It will take some catastrophic event in Australia before our government wakes up to situation.

    2 REPLY
    • Denise, I believe that all women should be able to wear the apparel of their choice, no matter what it is. There are many who comment that Muslim women should be banned from wearing their traditional clothing, this simply means that you are taking away their choice and telling them what they must wear. You say that ‘these people’ need to embrace “our cultures and our way of life”? If that is the case, then all Australians should embrace the cultures and way of life of our nations first peoples, who are, after all, the original inhabitants of this country. Australia is made up of a melting pot of cultures and we should all be able to co-exist without giving up our histories and lineage. Muslims were here interacting with the first peoples before Cook ‘discovered’ Australia and before it was ‘settled’ by the British. Our ancestry is what makes us who we are!

    • Do you cover your face, too, on the beach, so it can’t be seen?

      These drab, & ugly full coverings’ these Muslim women wear, are downright scary.
      One hasn’t
      a clue what, or who, ‘lies beneath’.

  3. I agree with Henry.
    I am now 72, my bikini days are long behind me; when I go to the beach with my grandkids; I sit on the sand fully clothed, which means trousers, a long-sleeved top, a hat and sunnies! Picture it; is there any difference?
    People who want to ban the Burqa are racist that’s all; that’s what it’s about.

    2 REPLY
    • Wait till moslems take over and you are forced to wear a burka – you may feel differently then!

      1 REPLY
      • Pamela, Muslims have been in this country interacting with the first peoples since before Cook ‘discovered’ it and they have been living here just as long as the British. I certainly do not believe all the fear mongering that goes on from the LNP Government, who never seem to interact with the Muslim community. I refuse to judge anyone on someone elses heresay, I judge people on the way they treat me when I meet them. By the way, the worst terrorist/mass murderer in this country was a blue eyed blonde from Tasmania, not a Muslim!

    • The problem is of identification. If the people coming from those countries that wear traditional clothes well and good there, but with the increase of terrorism and especially with disguises such as has been used several times to commit atrocities on innocent people then the question of racism becomes irrevalent. If people choose to come to our country then at least make some effort to comply with our society and its ways. Australians do not insist on immigrants loosing their ways from their mother country but we do not want people immigrating here and hiding behind their “cultural” identities. In their own countries, women do what the men want or else they get into terrible trouble. That is not the way of this country and therefore it is considered reasonable that all of us can be facially indentified. This is reasonable, not racist. If they won’t to insist on doing this then go back to the country where they come from, but no, they want to insist that they can live just as they please despite any problems within our society that they may cause.

  4. ban the burka. It’s presence, in my country, is offensive to me, because it intrudes on our culture. The burka also represents domination of women. Our society is not based on domination of women. The presence of the burka, is from an era 100’s of years ago. Afghanistan in the 1960’s was a very different place. Check out some pics. no burka.
    no domination of women.

  5. It is sad to see a woman covered in a burka in 42 degree heat only to be told by one woman that we will all be wearing it one day. God help the day I have to wear a burka. I cannot stand the heat in summer. People who immigrate to another country from Muslim countries should realize that you adapt this is Australia belonging to Australians. When we visit their countries we follow having your head covered why then can they not see the same applies to them in Australia? Please adapt with out being vulgar in dress in Australia

  6. I don’t give a rats arse what you wearing if you are able to go to work in your outfit.
    Muslims have more children when compared to other religions, so muslims should work more to support they kids.
    “The man in suits ” should not make me work longer and longer, because they emigration police went down the drain.
    Pauline Hanson spot on when pointing out muslims welfare dependency, MUSLIMS have jobless rates more than twice the national average.
    It’s not the “burqa ban ” is the problem here ,,,,,, Dear ” Starts at 60 ” ,,,,,,,

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