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veil of suspicion – banning the burqa in australia and europe

This clip was produced in 2010 by the Australian version of the newsmagazine 60 Minutes. Reporter Liz Hayes explores recent controversies in Australia and Europe regarding the Burka and hijab, types of veils and headscarfs worn by Muslim women. It begins with a portrait of Australian Muslim women soccer players who are outraged by efforts to ban the wearing of the headscarf during soccer matches. It also outlines the arguments of several non-Muslim politicians who call for strict restrictions on where, when and how these religious articles of clothing can be worn. Further, the report speaks to a British Muslim cleric who preaches a radically strict interpretation of Islam. The program concludes with the perspective of a featured Muslim female soccer player: “I’m an Australian more than anyone else here,” she says. “If you are going to judge me by my hijab, then really, that’s your problem.”


Consider the argument for placing restrictions on the veil. How would you evaluate the claims made by advocates for these laws? Are the politicians credible in their assessments? Why or why not?

Compare the featured British Muslim cleric with the Australian Muslim female soccer player. How would you assess their similarities and differences in their philosophy and approach to Islam? Which type of perspective do you think is featured more often in popular culture and the news? Why?

Efforts to restrict the wearing of the value have been advanced more so in Europe and Australia than in the United States. Why do you think this is the case? What is it about American culture and the legal system that would make this less likely to happen?

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