Boris Johnson stirring up Islamaphobia



Boris Johnson, the former foreign secretary and wannabe leadership contender for the Conservative party has rightly come under fire for inflammatory comments made about Muslim women and their chosen attire.

Johnson’s specific remarks were "it is absolutely ridiculous that people should choose to go around looking like letter boxes". He further went on to say that if "a female student turned up at school or at a university lecture looking like a bank robber" he would ask her to remove her Burqa.

These comments were made in the same week of EDL anti-muslim campaigner Tommy Robinson’s bail release, and the worldwide support he received from his loyal followers.

Boris Johnson is a very astute politician and will know full well how these comments are met. Especially, at a time when right wing xenophobic politics are growing at levels we haven’t seen for many decades across Europe.

Some suspect this is Boris making moves that will play political divides within the Conservative party, if and when there is a leadership battle.

Former Tory chairman Sayeeda Warsi certainly thinks so and comments “I think Boris is making yet another leadership bid and he will do and say whatever needs to be done to make that as successful as he can … I sincerely hope that he doesn’t continue to use Muslim women as a convenient political football to try and increase his poll ratings.”

At a time where hate crime continues to rise against Muslim communities, even if his intentions and comments were given the benefit of the doubt and attributed to naivety, perhaps the real question we should be asking is are comments like these appropriate for someone who holds such high office, and someone touted as the potential prime minister?

The comments are not only offensive. In our current climate they have the potential to cause real world consequences for some.

Warsi also comments that “What starts as useful targets for ‘colourful political language’ and the odd bit of toxic campaigning ends up in attacks on our streets.”

Teresa May has called on Johnson to apologise but is this really enough?

This isn’t the first of Boris’s offensive comments and in 2002 he famously suggested that the Queen must enjoy touring the Commonwealth because she's greeted by "cheering crowds of flag-waving piccaninnies" and Tony Blair would be met with "watermelon smiles" in the Congo.

The Labour party has had a lot of media pressure to stamp out anti Semitism. We hope the Conservatives will also sanction Johnson accordingly .

Aisha Sanusi