Former British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson’s Islamophobic remarks spark fury

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                    Labour MP Naz Shah has said Theresa May must condemn Boris Johnson for his comments

PA Archive PA Images Labour MP Naz Shah has said Theresa May must condemn Boris Johnson for his comments

Johnson's comments were condemned by members of the opposition Labour Party, while the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) reiterated its call for an inquiry into allegations of Islamophobia within the ruling Conservative Party.

He said: "The way he goes on for sentence after sentence, nearly half his article, slagging off women who wear a niqab and a burka in very derogatory language was deplorable".

In recent years, France, Belgium, Austria, and Germany have all implemented similar rules.

"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".

"He wrote: 'If you tell me that the burka is oppressive, then I am with you", he wrote.

He said he felt "fully entitled" to expect women to remove face coverings when talking to him at his MP surgery - and schools and universities should be able to take the same approach if a student "turns up. looking like a bank robber".

Mr Johnson used his weekly Daily Telegraph column to criticise the face coverings, but urge caution in the state's role in intervening to stopwomen wearing them.

Boris Johnson, the former British foreign secretary, was accused of "pandering to the far right" on Monday after comparing women who wear the niqab to bank robbers and letter boxes even as the Conservative Party faced fresh calls to investigate Islamophobia in its ranks.

If you say that it is weird and bullying to expect women to cover their faces, then I totally agree - and I would add that I can find no scriptural authority for the practice in the Koran.

"It is absolutely ridiculous that people should choose to go around looking like letter boxes", he wrote.

Businesses and government agencies should be able to enforce a dress code which allowed staff to see customers' faces, said Mr Johnson.

Asked about Johnson's comments, the prime minister's official spokesperson said: "The long-standing government position is clear and it is that we do not support a ban on the wearing of the veil in public".

David Lammy, a Labour member of parliament, described Johnson as a "pound-shop Donald Trump" who was "fanning the flames of Islamophobia to propel his own grubby electoral ambitions".

Mahmoud also argued that more should be done to understand why far-right individuals are driven to commit anti-Muslim hate crimes, adding: "We must ask frank questions about the economic, social and political factors that underpin their violence".

His remarks attracted an angry response from a number of politicians from the Labour Party, including MP Jess Phillips who said she would report him to the Equality and Human Rights Commission. "Deeply disappointing that (the) Telegraph platforms this disgusting language", Mr Versi commented on Twitter.

Labour MP Stella Creasy said voters in a potential Conservative leadership contest should note that Mr Johnson appeared to be positioning himself as a figure in the mould of United States right-winger and former Trump aide Steve Bannon.