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A Current Affair -

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(generated from captions) And the Mother's Day makeover three

mums will never forget.

First tonight, the hot debate over

a federal politician's call to ban

the Islamic burqa. South Australian

senator Cory Bernardi labelled the traditional headwear un-Australian

and unsafe after it was used in an armed robbery.

Community leaders are split over

the controversy call to ban the

burqa if public. I find it a

challenging form of attire. I don't

want to see the burqa in Australia.

REPORTER: Should the burqa be

banned? I can understand that

Australians do find it a bit

confronting. What sort of moral

panic is this? What sort of threat

are we facing?

You might have noticed a bit of a

hullabaloo today about the issue of

banning burqas. I don't think it

should be banned. I think that is

pretty silly. How did it start?

Well, with this man. There is a

premier... The South Australian

Liberal senator got on to his

website after a man was robbed in

Sydney by a burqa-wearing bandit.

It is now emerging as the preferred

disguise of bandits and n'er do

wells, he said. For safety and

banned in Australia. society, the burqa needs to be

So here is the question: Is the

burqa really a significant security

risk? Let's ask that question

another way: Which of these outfits

do you personally find most

threatening? They actually all have

been used in robbery, but it is

this one specifically, the good

senator wants banned. We tried to

question Senator Bernardi about

this, but ironically he was in

hiding today. If he is hiding, we

can always lend him a burqa and he

can speak anonymously, I suppose.

Silma Irham is from the Muslim

National Network. I don't think

they pose any security risk and I

don't think permitting the burqa is

going to increase burqa clad crime.

When people say, look, they could

come in to a shop and rob it, we

don't know who they are, that is

just an excuse. A silly argument.

Andrew Bolt actually agrees with

banning the burqa, but for

different reasons and, unlike the

senator, he's got the ticker to

explain why. The real argument is

can we share this space as friends

or are you always going to be

separate from me by this big sack?

Now before today I honestly

couldn't have told you just how

common the burqa is, so I've come

to Preston, Melbourne's Islamic hub

to find out. In two hours, I

managed to find two women wearing

burqas, but what they had to say, I

found very interesting, indeed.

The majority of people that we know

are Australian. That we know that

wear it, yes, they are Australian.

Aussie. So most of the people you

see wearing burqas in Australia

didn't come from overseas?

No. People say if you want to wear

it go back to your own country.

This is my country. It is a free

country and I can wear what I want.

It is a non-issue. If it is a non-

ish shy why is it being pushed?

Professor Greg Barton from the

Centre for Islam in the Modern

World says offence people don't

realise how rare burqas actually

are in Australia. There are maybe

some dozens of women in Australia

who might choose to wear a burqa.

It is very, very uncommon and it is

hard to imagine why it is necessary.

Someone robs a bank wearing a burqa.

What do you say about that? What is

the difference between wearing a

snow mask. They could wear anything.

A hospital medical mask en..

WhiteOf course, known is arguing

that burqas should be allowed in to

places like banks, for example. For

security reasons, even motorbike

helmets have to be taken off there.

But to call for their ban

completely has other implications.

If we give the impression that we

are involved in some kind of war on

Muslims or Islam we strengthen the

mind of terrorists. France says it

will proobibly ban the burqa and

Belgium has banned the burqa and

Italy has fined a woman for banning

the burqa. I wish that sort of

thing doesn't come here, but I can really understand people hating it.

As Nick said in his report, we

repeatedly approached Senator

Bernardi to, plain his comments,

but he declined. Meanwhile, several