Australia: Far-right politician wears burqa in Parliament
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Australia: Far-right politician wears burqa in Parliament

FAR-RIGHT Australian lawmaker Pauline Hanson has entered the Australian Senate in a burqa, in a move deemed an “appalling” stunt by Australia’s top legal official.

Just days after Trump administration criticised Hanson’s nationalist One Nation party as a threat to religious freedom in Australia noting her comment the country was “in danger of being swamped by Muslims”, she entered the Upper house in the conservative Islamic garb on Thursday.

Senator George Brandis, who is Australia’s Attorney-General from the ruling, conservative Liberal Party, drew a standing ovation from all sides of the chamber for his condemnation of Hanson’s “stunt.”

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A combination photo shows Hanson wearing a burqa and taking it off in the Senate chamber at Parliament House in Canberra, Australia, on Aug 17, 2017. Source: AAP/Mick Tsikas/via Reuters

 

“We all know that you are not an adherent of the Islamic faith,” said Brandis, who cautioned her to be “very, very careful of the offence you may do to the religious sensibilities of other Australians.”

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“We have about half a million Australians in this country of the Islamic faith and the vast majority of them are law-abiding, good Australians. Senator Hanson, it is absolutely consistent with being a good, law-abiding Australian and being a strict, adherent Muslim.”

Hanson was previously in the Australian Parliament in 1996 where she infamously warned Australia was being “swamped by Asians”, and after a stint in jail in 2002, ran unsuccessfully in at least five subsequent state and federal elections.

In recent years, she has focused on campaigning against Islam in Australia, including the halal certification of food and other consumer items. In 2016, she was voted into the Australian Senate.

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Hanson’s party claims buying halal-certified products is “financially supporting the Islamisation of Australia” and that somehow the halal certification process funds terrorism – a claim shown to be entirely baseless by an Australian parliamentary committee in 2015.

“To ridicule that community, to drive it into a corner, to mock its religious garments, is an appalling thing to do,” Brandis said on Thursday.

He said the leaders of Australia’s national security agencies had consistently emphasised it was “vital” for law enforcement to work cooperatively with the Muslim community.