2UE reporter hassled for wearing wrong clothes at Mosque | radioinfo

2UE reporter hassled for wearing wrong clothes at Mosque

Monday 21 May, 2007
Latika Bourke told to cover up at Mosque

2UE reporter Latika Bourke was hassled and told to "cover up," while waiting to interview Muslim cleric Sheik Al-Hilaly at at Sydney Mosque last Friday.

The ACRA winning reporter says she was abused by a young man, about twenty years of age.

Latika Bourke tells radioinfo what happened in detail:

On Friday Sheik Al-Hilali was due to give his first sermon at Lakemba mosque
since the expiry of his self-imposed gag after the "uncovered meat" sermon.

I went to cover it and at the end of Friday prayers I was standing on the
footpath outside Lakemba mosque chatting to a print journalist waiting for the
Sheik to come out when a Muslim man aged in his twenties approached me.

He said "are you aware this is our Friday prayers?"

He continued "you're disrespecting our religion."

I replied "I'm sorry, how?"

He said "you should be wearing more clothes, you need to cover up, you mutt!"

I turned away and he walked off and I noticed a small group of men to the side
who watched the incident and I presumed they were his friends supporting him.
I was honestly just shocked speechless because it was entirely
unprovoked, and I feel unwarranted in terms of what I was wearing: a long black
trench-coat, knee-high boots and gloves.

If he had attacked me because I was representing a media company or he had a
gripe with the way Islam is portrayed in media I would have copped that - it
goes with the position and the professional territory. But to make a cultural or
religious attack on someone who isn't violating any rules or cultural codes -
well that's a different matter entirely.

I was the only female journalist there and feel I probably seemed an easy target
for him.

When Bourke discussed the incident on 2UE, a flurry of talkback calls supporting her were put to air.

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