A report from a member of the anti-burqa group, “Faceless”:
The men and women of Faceless made their debut in Sydney on Monday, 2nd April 2012. Members of the public were left speechless upon seeing a contingent of people wearing burqas making their way through the busy streets of the city.
We spent hours traveling the city footpaths. Along the way we encountered many people who questioned what was going on. We explained to them our mission for the day – to test security at a variety of city locations.
We entered two banks to test security. The banks we entered had stickers on their outside windows advertising the need to remove helmets before entering the bank. We had no problems entering the banks dressed in our burqas, even though we were a party of seven. Bank staff including security, were suspicious and looked worried but were afraid to challenge us in case they might be branded ‘racist’ or some other inappropriate label.
When we entered the Downing Court Building security went into overdrive and asked us to sit down while they questioned us. The two female security guards admitted they hadn’t seen anything like our group before and were concerned about security. At least the Court security was prepared to challenge us on the premise that security is paramount.
We stopped at an inner city pub for a few cold beers. When members of the group entered the toilets no questions were asked to prove our sexuality or identity. Whilst only females from our group went into the female toilets, no-one would have known if one of them was a man dressed in a burqa. This hypothetically proves a pervert or criminal could enter the toilets without being stopped.
Our last stop was NSW Parliament House. We arrived at the entrance of Parliament and were stopped by security. The Security Constables informed us that we could not enter Parliament and would have to wait for the senior security manager. The Manager of Security finally arrived after nearly waiting for one hour and would not give us a reason why we could not enter Parliament. We decided to move outside to Macquarie Street.
While waiting on Macquarie Street, a car passed by with two Muslim men waving their fists and yelling abuse at us. The two Muslims parked their car, crossed the road while continuing to yell and scream at the group. When they reached our side of the road, their rage continued and then they started to demand we remove the burqas. We would not remove the burqas nor would we move our ground. One of the attackers pushed and spat on one of our photographers. During the attack, pushes were exchanged and the one wearing the fake Versace glasses grabbed my niqab. The assault was caught on camera by the media. During the heated exchange, the Muslim men continued their intimidation and told us, “You will all be bashed”. In typical fashion the aggressors assaulted participants and also threatened us verbally. Despite all this, the police who were present at the time did not arrest the Muslim attacker — maybe assault and battery is no longer an offence when it comes to certain minority groups and issues of “political correctness”?
Zubeda Raihman from the Muslim Women’s National Network said, “I think it is pretty offensive because we live in this democratic country and we are given the freedom of choice”. This is strange coming from someone who adheres to a political ideology that has never respected freedom or democratic principles. I am offended everyday when intolerant people demand we tolerate their offensive behaviour and ideals.
Our message was well received by the Australian public and media. The outdated and incompatible burqa poses many threats to civil society and raises many security, criminal and cultural concerns. The time has come for NSW Parliamentarians to act and ban the offensive burqa.