Muslim Women Challenge Police Over Comments on Driving With Burkas

April 5, 2006

Source: Radio New Zealand

On April 5, 2006 Radio New Zealand reported, "Muslim women in New Zealand are challenging the Police Association to back up comments that those who wear full, face-covering, burkas should not drive. Police Association president, Greg O'Connor, has described the new policy - which is designed to help officers identify Muslim women drivers - as silly. Mr O'Connor says he is worried female criminals may use the burka as a disguise, and questions whether women wearing them should be driving at all. But New Zealand Islamic Women's Council spokesperson, Anjum Rahman, says the issue should be one of public safety and not the women's beliefs. The council welcomes the new policy, saying only a few hundred drivers wear full burka, but it is an important part of their life. A spokesperson for the Police Commissioner's Office, Chris Scott, says under the new policy, officers must show patience and respect when confirming a woman's identity."