Your Weekly Digest on What Muslim Women Are Talking About

Boris Johnson Likens Women in Niqab to Letterboxes and Bankrobbers

by in Identity on 7th August, 2018

Boris Johnson is often the centre of a miscalculated or what may appear like an uninformed opinion. His recent resignation from the cabinet may have had you thinking that we wouldn’t hear from Boris as much, but with three weeks out it seems he’s come back and ready for some attention, this time commenting on the Burka and niqab.

Johnson likened Muslim women in niqabs to ‘letterboxes’ and ‘bank robbers’, both Johnson and the Tory government are under scrutiny for the Islamophobia that has been displayed and the Muslim Council of Britain are increasingly pressuring the party to conduct an enquiry. The niqab has been banned in the following countries, the recent ban in Denmark prompted his article.

  • France, since 2004
  • Belgium, since 2011
  • Brazzaville, Congo, since 2015
  • Tessin, Switzerland, since 2016
  • Chad, since 2015
  • Cameroon, in five provinces, since 2015
  • Diffa, Niger, since 2015
  • Denmark, introduced in 2018

Many Muslim organisations and individuals have spoken out against Boris. In an official statement released by Mend, they spoke about how comments like the one Johnson made, contribute to the hostility towards Muslim women.

“Data from MEND’s Islamophobia Response Unit reveal that the vast majority of victims of Islamophobia are Muslim women and visibly Muslim women in particular.

– Statement by MEND

MEND also called for the Conservative Party Chairman, to condemn Johnson’s statements and to heed the calls of the Muslim Council of Britain in launching an immediate inquiry into Islamophobia within the Conservative Party.

We spoke to Yusairah Batan from Leicester who explained whilst being called a letterbox isn’t surprising and ” is actually a regular occurrence for a veil-wearer like me, Boris Johnson, on the other hand, a representative of this country, had the audacity to spew his Islamophobic and inflammatory rhetoric in a national newspaper, without a second thought for the real-life consequences for people like me.”

Batan echoed thoughts that such comments by our so-called leaders often legitimise and give the green light to bigoted views, whereby Muslim women bare the brunt of Islamophobic attacks.

“When anti-muslim speech is used by people in positions of power, it gives license to those with hate to go ahead and dish it out to anybody who visibly identifies as Muslim. It is immediately after an occurrence like this that the daily abuse I get sky-rockets. This has included verbal abuse, spitting, or intimidation in public places.

Boris Johnson has not apologised for his comment, and will probably be forced to issue a half-hearted ramble of ‘sorry for the insensitivity’. But the damage is done, and even a sincere apology cannot undo it. Once again, the veil has been used for views, and me and my peers will be stuck with the backlash.”

He does go on to state that he would be against a full ban I am against a total ban because it is inevitably construed – rightly or wrongly – as being intended to make some point about Islam. If you go for a total ban, you play into the hands of those who want to politicise and dramatise the so-called clash of civilisations; 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.”

Not long after this, Boris was probed by those in the conservative party who will place Johnson under serious investigation for his comments made which could lead to the potential expulsion of the former foreign secretary. The investigation conducted by an independent panel according to Sky News, for breaching the conservative parties ‘code of conduct.’  If escalated the panel of three people will be supervised by appointed party chair Brandon Lewis. lewis has asked Johnson to apologise, and if the investigation escalates, Johnson could be facing expulsion or suspension from the party by PM Theresa May or Mr Lewis.

Many on Twitter expressed their views:

Is he pandering to please his supporters?

Telling women what not to wear

Calling him out to be a racist

Boris is contradicting himself

He isn’t equipped to give advice


Amaliah Team

Amaliah Team

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