Sergio Redegalli is an Australian artist and anti-Islamization activist whose no-burka mural and other public actions have been covered extensively here at Gates of Vienna (see, for example, here, here, and here).
Last month Mr. Redegalli and two of his friends dressed up in a burka, a Ku Klux Klan get-up, and a motorcycle helmet, respectively, and tried to enter the Australian parliament building in Canberra. Their stunt was an attempt to draw media attention — which it most certainly did — to the incoherence of the rule that permits the niqab, but no other face-coverings, in public buildings and businesses. Allowing the burka while forbidding other coverings is evidence of special treatment for Muslims, and not “religious freedom”. The unexamined premise behind the policy is that someone wearing a niqab could never possibly commit the sort of criminal acts that the ban on motorcycle helmets is intended to prevent.
Vlad Tepes recently interviewed Sergio Redegalli — who was wearing the Ku Klux Klan robes — about this incident and related matters:
Here’s a flashback to the event, which took place on October 27, as reported in The Sydney Morning Herald:
Protester Wears Ku Klux Klan Outfit to Oppose Burqas at Parliament House
Anti-burqa protesters dressed in a motorcycle helmet, a niqab and a KKK uniform try to enter Parliament House with their faces covered.
A trio of men have attempted to enter Parliament with one wearing a Ku Klux Klan mask, and the others wearing a niqab and a motorcycle helmet as part of a protest against the burqa.
All three were forced by Parliament security to remove their facial coverings.
Sergio Redegalli, Nick Folkes and Victor Waterson call their protest movement “Faceless” and oppose the burqa being worn in public spaces. They also expressed strong views against what they said was the “political ideology” of Islam which they said was “contrary” to Australian beliefs.
The protesters were stopped between Old Parliament House and the Parliament House forecourt and told by police that the men wearing the Ku Klux Klan hat and motorcycle helmet would be forced to remove their facial coverings but the person in the niqab would be allowed to keep theirs on.
“One of the requirements of coming into Parliament House is that the motorcycle helmet is going to have to come off, your headdress is going to have to come off and your burqa … your identity will be checked,” the security guard told the protesters.
Mr Redegalli removed his Ku Klux Klan mask to reveal a niqab underneath. He said “so I guess this is the time to say that I’m now allowed into Parliament House am I?” “No,” responded the security guard.
“Bit of a loophole, eh?” Mr Redegalli questioned.
The group were screened as part of the regular entry procedures and all three emerged with their facial coverings removed.
“Because we’re males so there’s a bit of sexism there. It seems you’re allowed to wear a full face covering into Parliament if you’re a Muslim woman but no other group is allowed to have that same privilege,” Mr Redegalli said.
“That’s a lot better than we thought, so that’s a fantastic thing,” he said.
The group said they opposed the decision earlier this month to overrule a ban on the burqa being worn in the public galleries over the Parliamentary Chambers.
Speaker Bronwyn Bishop and President Stephen Parry had been asked by Liberal Senator Cory Bernardi to consider banning the religious headwear being worn in Parliament.
On Monday, Senator Bernardi said the group’s stunt highlighted “just how ridiculous it is to allow anyone wearing an identity concealing garment into Parliament House”.
“The rules should apply equally to all Australians and all visitors to Parliament house irrespective of gender or ideology,” Senator Bernardi told Fairfax Media.
Senator Bernardi has been a long time supporter of Mr Redegalli’s attempts to protest against the burqa being allowed in Western countries.
In 2011, the South Australian Liberal backed Mr Redegalli’s six-foot high ‘Say Not the Burqa’ mural, which he painted in Sydney’s Newtown.
“I happen to agree with Mr Redegalli that the burqa has no place in Australia. I consider it a security risk and a symbol of repression and Islamic fundamentalism. Many Muslims (and opinion polls suggest a vast majority of other Australians) agree with me,” he wrote in 2011.
Nationals MP George Christensen has also publicly backed a ban on the burqa in Parliament, and tweeted in response to Monday’s stunt: “Where is the left-wing outrage at these three guys being told to remove their facial coverings at Parliament House?”
The Department of Parliamentary Services said in a statement that the men’s facial coverings were “protest paraphernalia” and they were asked to remove them because protests are allowed on Federation Mall in front of Parliament but not inside the building or on the forecourt.
“The policy requiring the temporary removals of facial coverings that came into effect on 20th October 2014 enables security staff to identify a person who may be a security risk.
“The visitors were requested to remove the items obscuring their faces as the items were deemed to be protest paraphernalia,” DPS said.
The department added that motorcycle helmets had long been banned from being worn in the building.