Carnita Matthews and the Unfortunate Policeman

The footage that saved a policeman’s career


Australian News Headline: The Muslim woman accused of lying about police trying to tear her burqa off has avoided jail – because her identity could not be proven.


The 47 year-old woman from Woodbine Sydney, Carnita Matthews, had previously been sentenced to six months in jail for making a deliberately false statement:  A policeman had tried to forcibly remove her burqa at a police roadblock, because he was a racist.  After hearing her Appeal, Judge Clive Jeffreys told the Court he could not  be satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that it was Mrs Matthews who made the racism accusation, because the person who complained to police was wearing a burqa at the time.  The absurdity of the law is, that to reach the level of proof of identity to make the case, Mrs Matthews would have been required to identify herself by lifting her burqa at the police station.  The very idea that set the whole saga in motion initially!

As much as Mrs Matthews’ Muslim supporters might summon their god in thanksgiving after the hearing, she is nothing less than a liar and what’s worse, she falsely accused a policeman of trying to rip off her burqa.  This very serious  offence of assault could have ended his career, when he was only doing his job.  Even though this has been proven to be untrue, she then accused him of racism, also a serious offence in Australia. If there had been no video running at the time, her word would probably have been taken over his.  I find it ludicrous that Mrs Matthews could even accuse someone of racism when she was covered from head to foot anyway.  How could anyone ascertain what was under all that cloth?

I have absolutely no problem with Islam itself or any other religion.  What I don’t appreciate is when religious beliefs are used as an excuse to behave with criminal intent.  Mrs Matthews  obviously knew Australian law well, she used it to satiate her hatred of the police, behaviour which common criminals are regularly guilty of.

I believe that the Australian government will eventually have to follow the example of France and other modern Western countries and ban the burqa, if for no other reason than to prevent this type of blatant disregard for Australian law which the rest of us have to abide by.  I can see in the future that criminals will use the disguise of the burqa to carry out crime.

Other animals and birds use recognition of their own species and others,  to prepare them for action in whatever way is beneficial to their socialisation, and survival.  We need to be able to recognise other humans; that is also part of our socialisation process. As far as I can see, women who insist on wearing the burqa are interrupting that process.  This is the very thing that causes rifts in societies; you only have to read world histories to see how suspicion and mistrust can grow out of different social rules and laws for different groups.  All Australians have to stop for police drug and alcohol screening; we may protest but we do abide by this law, and often have to show our driving licences and other ID.

I have read many biographies about what it means to be a woman living under Islamic Law, and it seems to me that the wearing of the burqa was a male construct to ensure that women were oppressed, would become invisible, and that no other male would recognise them.  Is that the culture  that women who flee from Muslim countries, really want to inflict on themselves, their daughters, and grand daughters?

Antidiscrimination lawyers warn against discussing banning the burqa, but we have to talk about our grievances.  Believe me, plenty of talk about this issue goes on privately and in pubs.  Most people I speak to have no objection to muslim women wearing the headscarf, because you can see their eyes and faces clearly.  Someone needs to listen to those voices as well!  In some well publicised cases, I think we sometimes forget who the real ‘victim’ is; in the case of Carnita Matthews, it certainly wasn’t her.


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