Wire Service: AFP
On August 29, 2005 Agence France-Presse reported, "Australian Prime Minister John Howard has rejected suggestions by some ruling party lawmakers that Muslim girls should be banned from wearing Islamic headscarves in public schools. Howard, who held a landmark meeting with Muslim leaders last week to secure their support for joint action against Islamic extremism, said on Monday he did not support such a ban. 'If you ban a headscarf you might, for consistency's sake, have to ban a yarmulke or a turban,' he told reporters. 'It does become rather difficult and rather impractical.' Two backbenchers in Howard's Liberal Party had called for the ban with one, Bronwyn Bishop, describing headscarves in public schools as 'an iconic item of defiance.' 'It's not just a headscarf, it is a challenge to our freedoms and way of life,' she said.'"