A right-wing and conservative Australian senator wore a burqa in Parliament as part of a campaign to ban Islamic face coverings around the country.
Pauline Hanson, who is head of the One Nation Party—which runs on an anti-immigration platform—sat in Parliament for 10 minutes wearing a head-to-ankle garment before taking it off. She then rose to explain why it’s necessary to ban the covering on national security grounds, according to Sky News Australia.
She said the garment “does not belong” in Parliament, and she was “quite happy to remove” it.
“There has been a large majority of Australians [who] wish to see the banning of the burqa,” she continued.
But Australian Attorney General George Brandis slammed Hanson, saying that it was a stunt that offended the country’s Muslim community. “To ridicule that community, to drive it into a corner, to mock its religious garments is an appalling thing to do and I would ask you to reflect on what you have done,” Brandis said, Fox News reported.
Hanson fired back, saying she wasn’t trying to mock Muslims.
“I am actually proving a point here. There was no security checks. People are confronted by people wearing the burqa,” Hanson said.
“We have countries around the world—Malaysia, Tunisia, Congo, Egypt—that have actually banned the burqa, these are predominately dominating Muslim countries. Then we have so many other countries around the world—other countries, non-Muslim, Germany, France, Italy, Switzerland, the Netherlands, you name it—they’ve banned the burqa. Why? Because they see it as a security risk and also, it stops social cohesion.”
Senate President Stephen Parry said that Hanson’s identity was confirmed before she went into the chamber, and he said he won’t comment on the standards of dress in Parliament, Fox News reported.