Haroon Siddique
July 5, 2011

Police in Australia’s most populous state have been given more powers to order Muslim women to remove burqas and other face coverings if they are suspected of committing a crime.

The law was approved by the New South Wales government on Monday in response to a high-profile case in which a Muslim woman, wearing a burqa, had a six-month jail sentence overturned on appeal because of doubts about her identity.

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The state premier, Barry O’Farrell, said: “I don’t care whether a person is wearing a motorcycle helmet, a burqa, niqab, face veil or anything else, the police should be allowed to require those people to make their identification clear. I have every respect for various religions and beliefs but when it comes to enforcing the law the police should be given adequate powers to make a clear identification.”

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