UK’s May urges Boris Johnson to apologize for burqa comments

Dan Kitwood via Getty Images

Boris Johnson has stood by his remarks about the burka after the Conservative Party chairman told him to apologise.

The former foreign secretary yesterday faced a barrage of criticism after he penned a column for the Telegraph saying school teachers or university lecturers would be within their rights to refuse to talk to students who arrived at class "looking like a bank robber".

Giving evidence to the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, Mr Johnson said Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe had been "training journalists" at the time of her arrest, even though she maintained she was on holiday.

'It is ridiculous that these views are being attacked, ' the source said, adding: 'If we fail to speak up for liberal values then we are simply yielding ground to reactionaries and extremists'.

Among critics in the community, was chairman of the Jewish Leadership Council Jonathan Goldstein, who took to Twitter to say: "Boris Johnson's comments totally disgraceful".

Lady Warsi also echoed calls for an independent inquiry into alleged Islamophobia in the Conservative Party, claiming the party's Old Etonians were crassly using Muslim women as "a political battleground and it must be condemned by the leadership right from the Prime Minister down".

He revealed on Tuesday he had asked Mr Johnson to apologise.

Mr Lammy added: "Muslim women are having their burkas pulled off by thugs in our streets and Boris Johnson's response is to mock them for "looking like letter boxes".

"If you cast your mind back 50 years to when Enoch Powell gave his Rivers of Blood speech, he was sacked from the shadow cabinet immediately", she told BBC Newsnight.

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Mr Johnson branded the burka "oppressive" and said it is "weird and bullying to expect people to cover their faces".

Conservative peer Sayeeda Warsi, a former party chairwoman, accused Johnson of adopting the "dog-whistle" tactics of right-wing firebrand Steve Bannon, US President Donald Trump's former top aide.

Some suspected Mr Johnson's burka comments were meant to boost his appeal among right-wing members of the party.

'One day, I am sure, they will go'.

Denmark last week followed France, Germany, Austria and Belgium in banning face-covering garments such as the burka and niqab in public places.

I believe women should be able to choose how they dress.

"We've seen a 26 per cent rise in hate crime against British Muslims of that the large majority is towards Muslim women", she said.

He said a total ban on face-covering veils would give a boost to radicals who said there was a "clash of civilisations" between Islam and the West, and could lead to "a general crackdown on any public symbols of religious affiliation".

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