The Howard Government is considering banning Islamic scarfs at Australian airports, senior government sources have revealed. The security measure would see even the most inoffensive Muslim scarf, the hijab, which covers the hair and neck, banned, along with several other types.
Security officials were especially concerned by two other types of scarf, the niqab and burka. The niqab covers the face, but leaves the eyes exposed, while the burka covers the entire face, with only a mesh screen for the eyes.
The scarf policy is under active consideration in Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews’ office, which is consulting airport security officials over the policy.
Update: The Sydney Morning Herald quotes a spokeswoman for Andrews as saying: “I can say that the minister’s office is absolutely not considering any such plan.”