Armeena Khan calls out former London mayor over offensive burqa comments

Leroy Wright
August 9, 2018

Johnson on Sunday said women who wear burqas "look like letter boxes" and compared them to "bank robbers".

And Tory peer Eric Pickles, a former Conservative party chairman and minister, today said it is possible Mr Johnson will face disciplinary action over the remarks.

"What's important is do we believe people should have the right to practice their religion and, in the case of women and the burqa and niqab, to choose how they dress".

"I spoke last night to my very experienced officers who deal with hate crime and, although we have not yet received any allegation of such a crime, I can tell you that my preliminary view having spoken to them is that what Mr Johnson said would not reach the bar for a criminal offence".

Sources close to Johnson said earlier this week that calls for him to apologise for the comments were "ridiculous".

There was no immediate sign that Johnson planned to back down.

"It is ridiculous that these views are being attacked - we must not fall into the trap of shutting down the debate on hard issues", a source close to Johnson told reporters. "If we fail to speak up for liberal values then we're simply yielding ground to reactionaries & extremists".

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Ms Faifi, who wears niqab, a veil which leaves the eyes uncovered, said she could "empathise" with people who find it hard to connect with women whose full faces they cannot see.

His remarks drew condemnation from former colleagues. "I will defend the basic principle which is the right to choose", added the Janaan actor.

Johnson has been in direct communication with Bannon in recent months, according to media reports.

Speaking on the BBC's World At One, the MP for Beaconsfield said: "If he was to become leader of the party, I won't be in it".

"It is crass and it must stop, and it must be condemned by the leadership right from the prime minister down".

'Johnson did not go far enough. The ban was upheld in 2017 by the European Court of Human Rights following a challenge by two Muslim women.

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