Johnson must apologise for 'burqa' comments

Tuesday 10th September 2019 14:32 EDT

A Sikh Labour MP has been applauded in the House of Commons after he demanded that Prime Minister Boris Johnson apologised for his comments that he had made about 'burqa' and the appearance of Muslim women.

Tanmanjeet Dhesi Labour MP for Slough had condemned Johnson for his controversial comments in his Telegraph column. The confrontation on the floor of Parliament came after an anti-racism charity Tell MAMA released its annual report. This report highlighted that there had been a stark 375% increase in islamophobic incidents and hate crimes reported against Muslims after Johnson's controversial remarks.

In 2018, before becoming the Prime Minister in his column in Telgraph Johnson had written that women who wear a full face veil resemble “letterboxes” and “bank robbers”, but was later cleared by a Tory probe.

Confronting Mr Johnson at his first Prime Minister’s Questions, Dhesi said,

“If I decide to wear a turban, or you decide to wear a cross, or he decides to wear a kippah or skull cap, or she decides to wear a hijab or a burqa, does that mean that it is open season for right honourable members of this House to make derogatory or divisive remarks about our appearance?

“For those of us who have had to endure and face up to being called names such as ‘towel head’ or ‘Taliban’ or ‘coming from Bongo Bongo Land’ we can appreciate full well the hurt and pain felt by already vulnerable Muslim women when they are described as bank robbers and letter boxes".

But Mr Johnson responded, “If he took the trouble to read the article in question he would see that it was a strong liberal defence of everybody’s right to wear whatever they want in this country and I speak as somebody who is not only proud to have Muslim ancestors but to be related to Sikhs such as himself.

“I’m also proud to say that under this Government we have the most diverse Cabinet in history of this country and we truly reflect modern Britain, and what we have yet to hear from anywhere in the Labour Party is any hint of apology for the virus of anti-semitism that is now rampant in their ranks”.

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