The Western Australian District Court has commenced hearings today (5 August) as to whether a Muslim woman can wear a burqa in Court.
The 36 year-old woman is a potential prosecution witness in a fraud trial against a director of an Islamic College where she taught. She has previously told The West Australian newspaper that she chooses to only show her face to her husband and close male relatives.
A burqa is a head to toe garment that covers a woman's entire body except for her arms and eyes.
The question of whether a witness can wear a burqa in court has provoked strong comment from public figures in Australia.
Western Australian Premier, Colin Barnett, said that the woman shouldn't be allowed to wear a burqa in court so the "true nature" of a person's evidence can be ascertained.
The leaders of the federal coalition have also expressed divergent views.
Liberal Party leader Tony Abbott called the burqa "a particularly confronting piece of clothing", while the National Party leader Warren Truss said that "people should be able to wear what they choose, as long as it doesn't disadvantage the rights and privileges and freedoms of other Australians".
The hearing continues.
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