Boris Johnson Says Women Wearing Burqa Look Like ‘Letter Boxes’

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“If you tell me that the burka is oppressive, then I am with you. I would go further and say that it is absolutely ridiculous that people should choose to go around looking like letter boxes,”

Following the footsteps of other European countries, Denmark banned face veils in public, including niqab and burqa which are worn by Muslim women, in May.

Just recently, the Britain’s former foreign secretary Boris Johnson came out against calls for a ban on face-covering veils but at the same time said Muslim women wearing burkas "look like letter boxes" or bank robbers.

The Britain’s top diplomat who was branded a "pound-shop Donald Trump fanning the flames of Islamophobia," called the religious attire “oppressive.”

“If you tell me that the burka is oppressive, then I am with you. If you say that it is weird and bullying to expect women to cover their faces, then I totally agree – and I would add that I can find no scriptural authority for the practice in the Koran. I would go further and say that it is absolutely ridiculous that people should choose to go around looking like letter boxes; and I thoroughly dislike any attempt by any – invariably male – government to encourage such demonstrations of “modesty”,” Johnson wrote in his newspaper column.

He went on to compare women who wear the face-covering veils to rebellious teenagers.

“If a female student turned up at school or at a university lecture looking like a bank robber then ditto: those in authority should be allowed to converse openly with those that they are being asked to instruct,” he added.

However, in his column, Johnson also suggested banning the burka could elevate tensions between Muslims and other demographic groups and how “total ban is not an answer.”

“If you go for a total ban, you play into the hands of those who want to politicize and dramatize the so-called clash of civilizations; and you fan the flames of grievance.You risk turning people into martyrs, and you risk a general crackdown on any public symbols of religious affiliation, and you may simply make the problem worse,” said the MP.

Nevertheless, it was his former remarks that drew the most attention and sparked criticism from many Muslim organizations and MPs who accused him of stoking Islamophobia for political gain.

The assistant secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, MiqdaadVersi, said Johnson was “pandering to the far right.”

Labor’s Jess Phillips said she would report Johnson to the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

 

However, Johnson’s latest remarks hardly come as a surprise considering how he has often come under fire for his controversial remarks in the past.

For instance, in 2008, he called black people "piccaninnies" – an offensive racial slur.

Banner Image Credits: REUTERS/Simon Dawson

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