This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Krishangi Singh. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

Why The Proposed ‘Burqa Box’ In The Australian Parliament Is Downright Islamophobic And Derogatory!

More from Krishangi Singh

By Krishangi Singh:

When on October 1st, Australian House of Representatives speaker Mr. Bronwyn Bishop and Senate President Stephen Perry announced a push for ban on facial coverings which would mainly target women of Muslim community, the idea of security-madness attained a new height.

Picture Credits: anna
Picture Credits: anna

What further shocked the Parliament was PM Tony Abbott’s statement in support of the ban saying that he found the burqas to be a fairly confronting form of attire, and frankly I wish it weren’t worn“.

The ridiculous statement was in support of the idea that if women wearing niqab and burqas while attending parliamentary proceedings are made to sit in an isolated glass box (usually reserved for school children) under guard, it would further the security of the parliament.

This ban is flawed in two major ways. First is the fact that a burqa is not an invisible cloak that would sheath knives and weapons under it without coming to notice, and if the idea is to ban loose clothing, then overcoats and jacket should also be included. Metal detectors would surely detect other forms of explosives since last I remember, burqas weren’t equipped with some out-of-the-box technology to trump metal detectors.

Second is the fact that if the apprehension is regarding letting face-covered personnel enter the parliament and not subjecting them to identity checks, then it should be stated that the Australian parliament has airport-level security checks which include the provision that men and women wearing facial coverings can be asked to step aside and lead to a separate room for identity check.

Moreover, what exactly is the Australian parliament trying to claim by imposing such security regulations solely on the House of Representatives? Either the security in other public places is not important enough or this is a mere political statement to show the religious minorities are uninvited in the Australian parliament.

This ban seems has little to to with actual security issues and more with Islamophobia. The entire notion of segregating Muslim women into a glass box and keeping them under guard is not only humiliating but also a move to propagate the second-class treatment meted out to women and religious minorities.

On the one hand Mr. Abbott talked about how burqa was a sign that Muslim women are being ‘vulnerable and oppressed’, and then went on to support the restrictions on a woman’s basic right to follow her religion and wear what she wishes. How will you make these Muslim women independent Mr. Abbott, by caging them behind glass walls?

There is no available record of a niqab or burqa clad woman entering the House of Representatives till yet. Australian Muslim Women’s Center For Human Rights chairperson, Ms. Tasneem Chopra, stated that full facial coverings weren’t worn in Australia and those exposing just women’s eyes were rare.

The Australian Parliament was certainly trying it’s best to disguise this ‘religious apartheid’; first by the idea of women’s oppression and later by shifting it to an issue of national security. It was only after facing severe criticism that Mr. Abbott changed his stance on the issue and is now asking the House of Representatives to do away with the ban.

In his new statement against the idea of burqa box, he recently said, “Common sense should prevail”. It really should Mr. Abbott, shouldn’t it?

You must be to comment.
  1. Lucky Thakur

    Trust Me, RSS / BJP is not responsible for this. Something like this has already been done in France as well. There as well RSS/ BJP is not responsble. Trust me

    1. Zainab

      You are weird. Where in the article were BJP/RSS referred?

    2. Shreya

      He is not being weird, he knows the Indian psyche well. Anything like this anywhere and a certain section of Indians are quick to blame RSS/BJP.

  2. Reha

    Krishangi, unfortunately, I beg to differ.
    Why is Islam being so upset over this? The muslims have decided to be very stringent, stubborn and right wing about THEIR religion, THEIR traditions and, THEIR rules!
    The truth is that the Islamic community refuses to conture themselves around the societies of the world and instead wants all the societies to actually work around them! I am sorry, but seeing a woman in a hijab with a full sleeves shirt with even her ankles not showing in the midst of summer is not ‘liberating’ or ‘free’ in any way.
    The muslim women are brainwashed and the religion is extremely biased in its views.
    I know this post is going to gather a lot of friction and backlash and I really don’t care but I think the decision of the Australian parliament should be implemented a as a nation wide ruling. The fact remains that while not all muslims are terrorists, but all terrorists are muslims.
    Therefore, it is apt that they either agree to sit in caged boxes or give up hiding their faces. They need to be kept a tab on and if they think it is wrong then I think it is best they go back to the country they came from.

    1. Shreya

      Dear Reha, can I tell you that I love you for saying this? While I agree that Muslims like everyone else have the right to practise their religion the way they wish to, they need to understand that they cannot expect other societies to bend and accomodate according to their ways and wishes. If it is difficult for them to adjust to others’ ways, it is rather best for them to go back to the societies and communities they are comfortable in, rather than expecting others to Islamicise their societies.

    2. Templetwins

      Let me do some swapping here, it would perhaps help you see your narcissistic bubble.

      While I agree that Women like everyone else have the right to be free the way they wish to, they need to understand that they cannot expect other societies to bend and accomodate according to their ways and wishes.

      If it is difficult for them to adjust to others’ ways, it is rather best for them to go back to the societies and communities they are comfortable in, rather than expecting others to feminize their societies.

    3. Shreya

      Dear Templetwins, I still stick to my point.

      Since you have put the ball in my court, so in my context as well, as a woman, and as a foreigner, I would rather not go to Saudi Arabia and UAE and then demand that I should be given the right to drive or roam around in skimpy clothes. Because I know it’s not according to their ways and it’s stupid and not fair of me to try and ask an alien country to change its ways for me because I want to live there. I would rather stay in India where I’m comfortable in or probably go to some country in the west which can provide me with the kind of lifestyle I want without asking my hosts to alter their ways for me.

    4. Templetwins

      That is so understanding of you! While you are at there just let your sistas to not to advocate to change any pro-life supporting country to adopt pro-choice, for the society doesn’t need to bend and accommodate the rights of women. Also don’t support gay rights in India, as a land of many religions and traditions, it shouldn’t accommodate the perverted anal sex. Live by your words Sherya! You go girl!

  3. Babar

    Reha, you need to differentiate between the actions of Muslims and Islam, just as they do with people of other religions. I, for one, certainly do not blame Christianity knowing that the U.S. government has been murdering Muslims since decades for money, oil, and power. Blaming a religion for the actions of its people is like blaming a car for an accident.

    Nobody blamed Christianity when President Clinton illegally occupied Iraq, imposed sanctions, and President Bush continued the oppression, killing a total of 2 million people, 700,000 of which were children. Official figures put it at 500,000. No one brought Christianity in the middle when President Obama pounded Pakistan with drones and kills thousands of innocent civilians, and terrorized hundreds of thousands of innocent people in North Warizistan. No one talked about Christianity when innocent civilians were horrendously tortured and raped in prisons like Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay, when the U.S. supplied Israel with 3.5 billion dollars in aid to kill innocent Palestinians, no one blamed Christianity for the U.S. led bloodshed in Iran, the bombing in Somalia, the slaughters in Libya, the butchering in Syria, and the list is endless.

    The U.S. government has killed millions of innocent Muslims since decades in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Palestine, Iran, Yemen, Libya, Panama, Somalia, among a host of other countries, and we still talk about Muslims and Islam being oppressive.

    http://youtu.be/akm3nYN8aG8

  4. Babar

    …a woman in a hijab with a full sleeves shirt with even her ankles not showing in the midst of summer is not ‘liberating’ or ‘free’ in any way.

    Read my comment here.

    The fact remains that while not all muslims are terrorists, but all terrorists are muslims.

    See comment below.

More from Krishangi Singh

Similar Posts

By Raj Iyre

By Yash Johri

By Abhinandan Kaul

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below