The Australian Identity

The Australian Identity

Recently in Australia, there has been discussion on the issues of identity associated with women wearing burqas, and the implications of the face being covered by these religious symbols. This subject is being debated on my social media accounts, with different articles being posted on the women who got off on charges because she could not be identified by police because her face was covered and she refused to reveal herself for the police officer. There are two sides to this issue; the identity the government requires and the right to practice ones religion.

Throughout history, religion has been a touchy subject and the topic of debates, laws, and even wars. In this particular news article, the subject is a change of laws for Australia. There have been issues associated with women not wanting to reveal their full faces and take off their burqas in the case of a government agent needing them to do so. At first, Australia was attempting to create a law where “headwear” had to be removed if necessary for identification processes in the country, but after members of the Muslim and Sikh religions stood up for their rights, it has been changed to the term “Face-coverings.” This term softens the expression, and takes the idea away from the focus on the religions and implications of such.

This clash of religions within a state is becoming common as cultures move and integrate themselves. Individuals and society as a whole tend to stay close to their beliefs and disagree with others. Perhaps it is misunderstanding of others religions that cause negative feelings towards others religious practices, but this example in Australia is a strong portrayal of religious ties. Although the new law itself has little to do with religion, and everything to do with safety and identity rights, it is the reactions of the population and the world as a whole that are emanating religious viewpoints, as thoughts are shared on social media, and points of view are established. There is a sense of nationalism, pride, politics and stubbornness as individuals speak out on their viewpoints and rights, and others add in their two cents.

This online public sphere of religious topics is inspiring and it will be interesting to follow the responses to this new law in Australia in which, against the religious beliefs of some women, their “face-coverings” will have to be removed if necessary.



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