Burqa should be banned if it 'helps national security': Muslim leader

Bryan Seymour

A prominent Muslim leader has supported a ban on the burqa if it will help Australia's national security and reduce the risk of terror attacks.

Sunni Muslim spokesman and political candidate Jamal Daoud claims there is no requirement in Islam to wear a veil, saying it is a choice made by an extreme minority.

“If this will help with security, national security, and preventing terrorist attacks,” he said.

“We support such a move.

Jamal Daoud believes more Muslims would support banning the burqa if right wing politicians did not use the issue stir up Islamophobia. Photo: 7 News

“There is no mentioning of covering the face in any Quranic verses.”

He cited an incident in a supermarket last year where he was attacked by someone wearing a niqab.

“Police said you can file a statement but because I couldn’t identify my attacker they couldn’t do anything,” he said.

Mr Daoud says nearly all those charged with terror-related crimes have female family members wearing the full body covering.

It’s been almost six years since the infamous case of Carnita Matthews, who refused to lift her veil at a traffic stop in NSW.

That incident led to laws requiring burqa wearers to show their face to police, and when obtaining a driver’s license or lodging a statutory declaration.

But critics oppose a total ban, saying all women have the right to choose what they wear.

“If the state is going to start dictating about what women can and can’t do then they should start thinking about the meaning of democracy,” Maho Abdo, from the Muslim Women’s Association, said.

Carnita Matthews refused to lift her veil and sparked a change to laws in NSW six years ago. Photo: 7 News

Since banning the burqa in 2011, France has experienced an increase in the number and scale of terrorist attacks.

To avoid a repeat in Australia, Mr Daoud said any ban on the burqa must be accompanied by a wide-ranging deradicalisation program.

And he says many Muslims are too scared to voice support for a ban if it’s led by right-wing politicians seeking to whip up Islamaphobia.