Australia and the burqa and niqab debate: The society, the state and cautious activism

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This paper locates the discussion on wearing niqab and burqa within the context of information acquisition and response formation among Muslims and non-Muslims in the contemporary world. The paper argues that, against the backdrop of varied opinions on Islam and Muslims around the world, the debate on wearing burqa represents the continuation - albeit up-scaling - of the focus on Muslim women as the signifiers of Islam and Muslim identities. Australia is influenced by, and dealing with, the debate on whether or not to ban the burqa and niqab. Opinions among both the wider community and Muslims have differed on the justification and advisability of such a ban. The Australian government at the federal and state levels has demonstrated cautious activism in dealing with the issue, thus protecting the rights of Australian Muslim minorities, and reducing the space in which a heightened sense of exclusion could develop among them. © 2013 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)251-264
JournalGlobal Change, Peace and Security
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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