There is an interesting story today in the Sydney Morning Herald, "Topless ban to protect Muslims and Asians: Nile." The "Nile" in question is Fred Nile, an ordained Methodist minister and also a member of the New South Wales parliament for the Christian Democratic Party. He argues that, to protect the sensibilities of Sydney's Muslim and Asian communities, topless bathing by women should be banned from NSW beaches. The newspaper explains:
Australia's reputation as a conservative but culturally inclusive society was at risk of erosion by more liberal overseas visitors, he said. "Our beaches should be a place where no one is offended, whether it's their religious or cultural views," he said. "If they've come from a Middle Eastern or Asian country where women never go topless - in fact they usually wear a lot of clothing - I think it's important to respect all the different cultures that make up Australia."
Fred Nile, MP in the New South Wales parliament, scourge of topless bathers.
The practice was at risk of raising the ire of Muslim men in particular, Mr Nile said. "I don't want to have any provocations or disturbances on our public beaches," he said. … "I think if you survey Australian women you'll find a lot of women would be uncomfortable if it became the custom [to be] topless at the beach," he said. "Australia's always been a conservative country as far as beachwear goes. Once being topless is accepted as lawful the next question will be why can't women go totally nude on a public beach and I don't think Australians want to go down that pathway."
Politicians generally responded by noting that beach practices are an issue for local councils to decide, not state governments; and that they have not heard complaints about topless women. Further, an informal SMH on the topic finds 7 percent agreeing with Nile about a general ban, 10 percent agreeing to a ban on some beaches, and a whopping 83 percent against any sort of ban.
SMH's caption: "Culture shock ... Muslim women walk along an Indonesian beach past a topless foreign tourist."
Sep. 4, 2013 update: Fred Nile initiated a successful resolution in the New South Wales parliament to recognize the Armenian genocide that then caused an furor when Turkey's foreign minister, Ahmet Davutoğlu, responded by threatening to ban New South Wales politicians from the planned centenary memorial for Gallipoli in April 2015:
These persons who try to damage the spirit of Canakkale/Gallipoli will also not have their place in the Canakkale ceremonies where we commemorate our sons lying side by side in our soil. We announce to the public that we will not forgive those who are behind these decisions and that we don't want to see them in Canakkale anymore.
So, it turns out, Fred Niles is not quite a dhimmi.