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Political correctness paralyses Labour on burkas

Political correctness paralyses Labour on burkas

More than eight months after Labour Ministers knew they would have to decide our law's attitude to extreme Muslim clothing preferences, they still have no idea what to do, ACT Justice spokesman Stephen Franks said today

"Today in Parliament the Police Minister George Hawkins could not tell us straight whether there are immigrants whose license photos show only a shroud.

"Rule 12 of the Land Transport (Driver Licensing) Rule 1999 says applicants don't have to remove things that obscure their face if they sign a statement that they must wear the item for religious reasons. I've been told of at least one burka-shrouded license photo, and no one in government has denied the likelihood that there are more. A Land Transport NZ letter only says the number is `likely to be very low'.

"The Government's lawyers fought hard to ensure that burka-wearing witnesses could keep their faces masked in court. Meanwhile, the Transport Minister's officials are puzzling over what to do about the rule that lets Muslim women refuse to remove their burkas for their driving license photos.

"George Hawkins should have made up the mind of the dithering Minister of Transport. When basic legal principles are at stake, tell every immigrant `when in Rome do as the Romans do'.

"The answer is only hard if you're politically correct. So Labour can't use the simple principle `one traffic law for all, to be enforced equally, without discrimination by race culture or religion'.

Think of the problems if their political correctness continues. For example:

• How are police expected to know whether a license belongs to a Muslim women or a hunted rapist, when both can hide under a burka and the license photo shows only the burka?

• How will traffic police apply the district court ruling the Government fought so hard to get, that Muslim women shrouded in burkas only have to show their faces to females and old men?

• How many male traffic police are old enough to check burka wearers?

Why has it taken so long to change the bizarre license photo rules? Is it out of embarrassment because so much police prosecution effort went in to ensuring Muslim witnesses can stay masked, or simply the paralytic political correctness of the entire Labour Cabinet? I think it is the latter," Mr Franks said.

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