Calls by Queensland retailers to ban religious head coverings in banks and shopping centres have been branded “immature and xenophobic”.Source: BBC
Australian Retailers Association executive director Richard Evans said the suggestion the Muslim face covering was a security threat was distressing and outrageous.
“What these folks have done in Brisbane is to promote uncertainty and suspicion about everyone who wears a burqa,” Mr Evans said. “It sends the wrong message to the whole community.”
On Thursday the Queensland Retailers Association executive director Scott Driscoll said the Muslim face veil – along with helmets, hoodies, baseball caps and sunglasses – could be used by people of criminal intent to disguise themselves and they should have to be removed as a condition of entry.
His comments followed controversial remarks by a Brisbane radio announcer who said people who wear burqas in public should be fined for offensive behaviour.
Mr Driscoll now says he recognises that law-abiding Muslim women in traditional head coverings do not pose a security threat.
“Our challenge will be to strike a balance between respecting those law-abiding Muslim women … and guarding against undesirable elements … using the same clothing as a direct means of obscuring their identity in the execution of criminal activity,” he said.