21 November 2002

Rev Fred Nile's comments offensive and misinformed, says acting Race Discrimination Commissioner

Acting Race Discrimination Commissioner Dr William Jonas said remarks made by the Rev Fred Nile were offensive and an abuse of the institution of parliament.

Rev Nile, the NSW Christian Democrat, called for Muslim women to be banned from wearing the chador in certain public places, lest it be used as a disguise or to conceal weapons or explosives. His comments have rightly outraged the Muslim community, Dr Jonas said.

Dr Jonas said the remarks effectively branded all Muslim women potential terrorists.

"His comments are plainly ludicrous," said Dr Jonas.

"Australia's political leaders have called for us to be alert but not alarmed in response to potential threats of terrorism. I say we should also be vigilant but not vilifying. "

"We do not insist that all Catholics be condemned for the actions of the IRA or all Protestants be condemned for the actions of loyalist paramilitaries."

Media contact: Janine MacDonald 02 9284 9880 or 0408 469 347

Last updated 21 November 2002.