I reported last month that the Belligerent Burqa Bimbo, Carnita Matthews, had successfully appealed her conviction for filing a false police complaint, on the grounds that her full veil (niqab) meant that there was no proof that she was in fact the person who had filed the complaint.
That’s an example of the Islamic version of chutzpah, known in Arabic as qutspiyyah*.
There’s nothing that can be done now about Ms. Matthews, who is as free as a bird. However, her case has prompted New South Wales to pass a new law giving police the power to require the removal of a burqa (or any other full-face covering, to avoid being accused of religious discrimination) so that drivers’ identities may be confirmed during traffic stops:
Police Given Power to Remove Burkas
New South Wales police conducting routine car stops will be given the power to demand the removal of head coverings for identification.
Premier Barry O’Farrell says cabinet approved the move on Monday so police could properly identify motorists or any other people suspected of committing a crime.
“I don’t care whether a person is wearing a motorcycle helmet, a burka, niqab, face veil or anything else, the police should be allowed to require those people to make their identification clear,” he said in a statement.
“I have every respect for various religions and beliefs but when it comes to enforcing the law the police should be given adequate powers to make a clear identification.”
Mr O’Farrell says there has to be a balance between religious customs and a police officer’s ability to do their job.
“It’s also an issue with other religions. It’s also an issue with other cultures,” he said.
“But whether it’s a driver’s license or passing through customs, identity checks are required in this day and age and we’re determined to ensure police have the powers to undertake them when required.”
The new laws come in the wake of a successful appeal by a Muslim woman who had been sentenced to jail for falsely accusing a police officer of forcibly trying to remove her burka.
The sentence against Carnita Matthews was quashed on appeal last week.
The magistrate said he was unable to confirm whether Ms Matthews had made the accusation as police had been unable to see the face of the woman who made the complaint.
Attorney-General Greg Smith says he will not be appealing against the Matthews decision, but says the new laws should prevent a recurrence of the case.
Police have had the power to ask women to remove face veils during the investigation of serious offences but did not have such powers during routine car stops.
* No, that word is not authentic. I made it up. It’s just for fun.
Hat tip: Salome.