February 6, 2023

Former UK Foreign Secretary Johnson refuses to apologize for Islamaphobic comments

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From WN

Boris Johnson said he was standing by his remarks on Tuesday after the Conservative Party chairman told him to apologize for commenting that Muslim women wearing burkas “look like letter boxes” and comparing them to “bank robbers,” according to BBC News.

Even though Johnson’s comments have been called Islamaphobic and “deliberately provocative,” but a source close to the former foreign minister said he thinks it’s ridiculous his views are being attacked.

“We must not fall into the trap of shutting down the debate on difficult issues,” the source said to BBC News. “We have to call it out. If we fail to speak up for liberal values then we are simply yielding ground to reactionaries and extremists.”

Johnson’s remarks were published in a Daily Telegraph article but have prompted criticism from his own party along with the opposition parties and Muslim groups.

Johnson said the full-face veils known as burkas should not be banned in the United Kingdom but said they looked “ridiculous.”

The founder of the Conservative Muslim Forum Lord Sheikh said the remarks would harm community relations and said Johnson was “using Muslims as a springboard” to propel himself to lead the Tory Party.

“It is a joke but in very, very bad taste,” he said, noting how Johnson had a “weird sense of humor.”

Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt said Johnson’s comments had a “degree of offense” but emphasized Johnson was trying to make a point about how “the government will not enforce any clothing restriction.”

Conservative Party chairman Brandon Lewis said he agreed with Burt but also called on Johnson to apologize.

Former Conservative chairwoman Lady Warsi, the first Muslim woman to sit in a British cabinet, agreed with Lewis’ comments and called for disciplinary action against Johnson if he did not apologize.

She said Johnson’s remarks were “offensive and deliberately provocative, but very clever politics.”

Lady Warsi said a debate about the number of burka bans should be taken “in a serious way,” instead of “trying to get airtime and attention on an issue which he knows will resonate with a certain part of the Tory Party.”

“What offends me is that Muslim women are not a convenient political football to be used by old Etonians,” she said.

However, some Conservative MPs have supported Johnson, especially MP Nadine Dorries who said the government should apologize to Johnson and his comments “didn’t go far enough.”

Labour’s equalities spokeswoman Naz Shah said Johnson should have to attend a training seminar and engage with the Muslim community and called on Prime Minister Theresa May to respond to the controversy.

“Clearly the Tory party has an issue with Islamophobia, but over 24 hours later the prime minister is still yet to say a word,” she added.

Johnson, who quit his post as foreign secretary last month in protest of May’s Brexit policy, was commenting on the latest burka ban in Denmark.

For more on this story and video go to: https://article.wn.com/view/2018/08/07/former_uk_foreign_secretary_johnson_refuges_to_apologize_for/

IMAGE: Boris Johnson The Sleuth Journal

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