Tag Archives: burqa

Johnson’s latest Covid-19 demand will make us ALL look like ‘bank robbers’ and ‘letterboxes’

If we’re going to wear face masks, let’s wear these: they were seized by US authorities during the George Floyd protests, to stop demonstrators protecting themselves from Covid-19 and are going spare. Can an enterprising entrepreneur please import them?

Funny how the things we say come back to haunt us.

Boris Johnson infamously said that Muslim women who wear the burqa look like “bank robbers” and “letterboxes” in an Islamophobic newspaper column of a couple of years ago.

But now his government has issued a decree that we should all wear face-coverings when we leave the house, starting on June 15.

The response has been logical:

The answer is that it has been deemed necessary for people to wear face coverings as more of the UK’s workforce return to their place of employment due to the government’s unaccountable decision to ease lockdown while Covid-19 infections are still increasing (as shown by the fact that we are still at alert level 4).

The simple fact is that anybody in public should be wearing them anyway:

The advice is to make masks at home, but I have a better idea.

If you read the caption under the image at the top of this article, you’ll know that US law enforcement officials seized masks that were intended to protect people from Covid-19 during anti-racism protests in that country. They are emblazoned with the words “Stop killing black people”.

Over here in the UK, government policy has led to a situation in which black people and other ethnic minorities are four times more likely to die of Covid-19 than the rest of us. The government suppressed a report on the reasons for this.

My suggestion is, wouldn’t it be a great idea to offer to take these masks off American hands and wear them ourselves – as a reminder to Boris Johnson that even his plans for dealing with the pandemic are racist?

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Equalities watchdog undermines itself by refusing to examine Tory Islamophobia

Boris Johnson’s comments about the clothes worn by Muslim women are only part of the huge volume of Islamophobia and racial hatred he has tried to stir up on his own – but the EHRC is happy to let the Tories investigate accusations against the party.

It won’t matter what the Equality and Human Rights Commission has to say about Labour and anti-Semitism now.

It is clear that the organisation is not fit for purpose as, despite having “equality” as part of its title, it is incapable even of treating the UK’s two main political parties equally.

Boris Johnson’s behaviour alone provides a prima facie case for investigating Islamophobia in the Conservative Party.

If the EHRC can’t see that, then no decision it makes about the Labour Party can have any weight at all.

I recommend that it be disbanded and replaced by an organisation staffed by people who can do the job properly.

The Conservative Party will not face a probe by the equalities watchdog over Islamophobia in its ranks after launching its own independent investigation into discrimination.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) said an investigation “would not be proportionate” after the Tories published the terms of reference for the party’s own inquiry, which included specific mentions of Islamophobia.

But the terms were described as a “facade” by the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), which argued the Tories’ investigation was too narrow even compared to Labour’s much-criticised Chakrabarti inquiry into anti-Semitism.

The inquiry would “hide the hundreds of incidences of Islamophobic bigotry” in the Tory party identified by the MCB, it said.

Source: Tories Will Not Face Islamophobia Probe By Equalities Watchdog | HuffPost UK

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Institutionally racist Conservative Party rules Boris Johnson’s anti-Muslim comments ‘respectful’ and ‘tolerant’

The Conservative Party’s code of conduct has found it was “respectful” and “tolerant” for Boris Johnson to suggest that Muslim women who wear the burqa look like “bank robbers” and “letterboxes”.

He was always going to get away with it. Despite – or maybe due to – his bumbling facade, he is a popular figure among the Tory faithful and the public at large, and it would be a vicious blow to that party’s credibility if this senior member was found to be an Islamophobe.

It seems an “independent” panel has investigated comments made by the former Foreign Secretary in a column he wrote for the Daily TelegraphHe claimed the burqa was “oppressive” and it was “absolutely ridiculous that people should choose to go around looking like letter boxes”. The investigation into whether he broke party rules was triggered automatically after the receipt of a number of complaints over the column.

The panel, chaired by Naomi Ellenbogen QC, found that while his use of language in the column could be considered “provocative”, it would be “unwise to censor excessively the language of party representatives or the use of satire to emphasise a viewpoint, particularly a viewpoint that is not subject to criticism”.

“Not subject to criticism”?

The Muslim Council of Britain holds a sharply alternative view. It said the Conservatives had “given a licence to bigotry” – and the evidence suggests the claim is correct. The watchdog organisation Tell Mama, which records hate crimes, said there was a “direct link” between the comments and an increase in incidents targeting women who wear the burqa.

In a statement, the MCB said: “Mr Johnson is not a satirist – he is a member of parliament, and as such has a responsibility to set the tone for the rest of the UK to follow. In this case, it is far-right Islamophobes who have been empowered to follow his rhetoric.

“The MCB further fails to see how Mr Johnson’s remarks were ‘respectful’ and ‘tolerant’ as the panel has concluded.

“In a year where over half of all Home Office recorded hate crimes targeted Muslims, over a hundred women who choose to wear the niqab or burqa wrote to the Conservative party chair to express the daily threat they face as a result of the prejudice whipped up by Mr Johnson.”

The whitewash hasn’t rubbed off on the social media commentators either:

https://twitter.com/SidUnite/status/1076020013667180544

Some drew a comparison with the claim that Jeremy Corbyn had called Tory leader (and current prime minister) Theresa May a “stupid woman”:

In fact there is a very strong difference between the Tories and the Labour Party with regard to prejudice on religious grounds.

Consider the case of Chris Williamson, who was reviled by politicians and political commentators from all sides after he tweeted support for a known anti-Semite.

Mr Williamson was not aware of jazz musician Gilad Atzmon’s anti-Semitic views; he had been told that Islington Council had banned him from performing in a gig, due to “pro-Palestinian views”.

Having discovered his mistake, Mr Williamson tweeted:

You see, when Labour politicians found to have supported unacceptable views, they apologise. Tories who promote such views are told they are “respectful” and “tolerant”.

That is why the Conservative Party is institutionally racist.

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Islamophobic crime is on the rise – because Tories support it? [WARNING: VIOLENT/DISTRESSING VIDEO]

Divisive: The row over Boris Johnson’s comments about women who wear the burqa looking like “letterboxes” and “bank robbers” has uncovered a deep vein of hatred for Muslims in the Conservative Party.

The manufactured anti-Semitism row in the Labour Party continues to shield Conservatives from justifiable criticism of their own Islamophobia.

Consider this incident, reported on Twitter but not (to the best of my knowledge) in the Tory-supporting press.

https://twitter.com/TheFieldMuslim/status/1039288979642822656

Sickening. Mrs Mike asked where the parents of the perpetrators were and why they weren’t around to stop this attack.

Answer: I don’t know. Perhaps they are Conservatives who support Islamophobic violence.

The backlash has been predictable. Aleesha, who tweets on politics and Muslim issues, makes the obvious connection between incitement to hate Islamic citizens of the UK and the violence it encourages:

And Aaron links this violence directly with the national media:

Why is it allowed? Ask Baroness Warsi, who was no good as a Cabinet member and is now being systematically ignored by her fellow Tories and the Tory-supporting press – for raising the issue of Islamophobia.

In the tweets below, she correctly identifies the problem – that her fellow Tories are happy to get on the anti-Muslim bandwagon because, thanks to the divisive attitude they have encouraged in the press, it makes them more popular with the public.

Speaking out against “Muslim bashing” leads to a sharp drop in popularity, as indicated by a poll on a pro-Tory website:

The ConservativeHome article states: “Finally, there are two particularly large losses in the table, which appear to be linked. Brandon Lewis, who was as high as +46.6 in June, loses a further 31.2 points this month, falling from -2.7 to -33.9. That is a brutal verdict from Party members on their chairman, and seems to be directly linked to his handling of the Boris Johnson burka row and the ensuing investigation. Similarly, Ruth Davidson’s normally quite unassailable rating has suffered, dropping from +54.4 to +33.8, I suspect due to her intervention in the same dispute, when she compared wearing a burkha to wearing a cross.”

The conclusion is clear:

If there is a problem with racism and sectarianism, it has its home in the Conservative Party. And we are all being distracted from it with spurious claims about Labour.

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Johnson left in the shade as satirist finally delivers a funny joke about burqas

Alternative burqa: This is almost certainly The Stig, although you can’t be too sure.

Boris Johnson take note: This is how you satirise attitudes to burqas:

(From the Rochdale Herald)

A new experimental initiative has seen numerous British Muslim women swap their traditional full face veils for an outfit made popular by Top Gear’s “The Stig.”

The aim of the trial is to make both Muslim women and xenophobic man-babies feel more safe and comfortable going about their lives in public.

So far the results have been positive. An anonymous test group of women in dangerous no-go-zone Luton reported dramatic changes to the way they were approached in the street.

“The same men who used to spit at me now ask me to sign their neck so they can get it tattooed. It feels like a minor change but the reaction couldn’t be more different. One man offered to by me a pint of lager and when I didn’t respond he just said ‘classic’ and left.”

Other suggested future experiments include dressing Jeremy Corbyn in a Gareth Southgate waistcoat and putting Tommy Robinson’s face on Halal goods.

For Mr Johnson, whose claim that Muslim women in burqas look like “letterboxes” and “bank robbers”, the future is looking a lot less cheery – and that goes for the Conservative Party, too.

The Tories appear to be imploding over the issue – which highlights genuine prejudice against a religious group, rather than the assumed prejudice in allegations of anti-Semitism against the Labour Party.

A former aide of David Cameron, Lord Cooper, and Muslim leaders have joined the chorus of condemnation against the comments, made in a Telegraph article last week. Here’s the Observer‘s piece:

A Tory peer and former aide to David Cameron [Lord Cooper] accused Boris Johnson of “moral emptiness”, casual racism and “courting fascism” as division over the former foreign secretary’s comments about Muslim women threatened to develop into a full-blown crisis for Theresa May and her party.

After Johnson, who returned from holiday abroad on Saturday, refused to apologise, Cooper said: “The rottenness of Boris Johnson goes deeper even than his casual racism and his equally casual courting of fascism. He will advocate literally anything to play to the crowd of the moment. His career is a saga of moral emptiness and lies; pathetic, weak and needy; the opposite of strong.”

An abnormal spike in anti-Muslim abuse aimed at women wearing the hijab and niqab has been recorded by the government-backed hate crime monitoring group Tell Mama.

The majority of niqab-wearing victims who have called Tell Mama’s helpline since the article appeared said the perpetrator either used phrases such as “letterbox” or referred to Johnson.

The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), has weighed in to say support for Mr Johnson from Tory MPs and others “shone a light on the underbelly of Islamophobia” in the party.

There seems to be evidence supporting this. Mr Johnson is, it seems, unlikely to lose the whip or face official censure as a result of the internal investigation – though he may be asked to take diversity training – an offer he seems certain to resist.

Party leader Theresa May is facing the possibility that the row will do lasting damage to Conservative-Muslim relations – but this is unlikely to bother her too much because she is herself, as we all know, deeply racist.

More concerning for Gollum is the possibility that the row will enthuse Mr Johnson’s support base for a potential leadership contest.

That would really boost the Tories, wouldn’t it? Swapping one racist for another!

And it’s easy to see where Mr Johnson gets his views:

A close friend of Johnson told the Observer that he was “as likely to ride naked down Blackfriars cycle lane waving an EU flag” as he was to apologise. His father, Stanley, writing in the Sunday Telegraph… said that his son was “spot on” in his comments on the burqa, but should have gone further and called for a ban in certain circumstances.

One wonders what this gentleman would have said while he was appearing in I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here, if he had ever been confronted by an aborigine.

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Tory Muslim peer receives ‘vile Islamophobic emails’ after calling for Boris Johnson to be kicked out – proving racism in the party?

Boris Johnson: All he wanted was publicity – and like gullible idiotrs, we gave it to him.

This Writer suggested – only two days ago – that Boris Johnson’s “joke” about burqa-wearing Muslim women was garnering support for him among racists.

It seems I was correct.

Of course we should not take anything a politician says at face value – Ruth Smeeth claimed to have received 25,000 anti-Semitic messages via social media, 20,000 of them in 12 hours. But research by Jewish organisation the Community Security Trust showed a peak of only 200 such messages, nationally, per day at the time of the alleged abuse, suggesting that she was… exaggerating.

And Mr Johnson?

He won’t care what Lord Sheikh says. Nor will he care about any disciplinary action by the Conservative Party.

He probably thinks, as other commentators do, that Theresa May will not want to upset supporters of Mr Johnson before crucial Brexit votes in the autumn.

So what has he achieved with his “joke”?

Publicity – for himself. And that is all he wanted.

Conservative Muslim forum founder, Lord Sheikh, has said he has received dozens of “vile” Islamophobic emails after calling for Boris Johnson to be removed from the Conservative Party after his remarks about niqabs.

The Tory peer said the ex-foreign secretary had also “let the genie out of the bottle” after he suggested veiled Muslim women resembled “letter boxes” and “bank robbers”.

He told BBC Newsnight he had received the “vile“ emails, with “obscene language” since calling for the Conservatives to withdraw the whip from Mr Johnson.

His remarks came after the Conservative Party’s decision to consider disciplinary proceedings against Mr Johnson – a move that has led to criticism of Theresa May from Brexiteer MPs who claim the complaints are politically driven.

Source: Tory Muslim peer who called for Boris Johnson to be kicked out of party receives barrage of ‘vile Islamophobic emails’ | The Independent

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Rowan Atkinson defends Boris Johnson’s burqa ‘joke’ – but did he consider the intent behind it?

Rowan Atkinson: He’s entitled to his opinion.

The last time I can recall Rowan Atkinson raising his head above the parapet to give an opinion on political matters, I thought he was right.

Not so sure about this one, though.

Mr Atkinson has defended remarks made by Boris Johnson in a Torygraph article, in which he suggested that women wearing burqas look like “letterboxes” and “bank robbers”.

Mr Atkinson reckons it was a good joke.

I can only say, paraphrasing one of his own sketches: “Good? No. Joke? … No.”

Boris Johnson is a man with a history of racist behaviour that has been well-quoted here and in the mainstream media. He has ‘form’ when it comes to offending people of other cultures.

Therefore we may assume there was a malicious intent behind his words.

If they had appeared in a comedy sketch on TV, spoken by a character we were supposed to find amusing for his views, then it would be a different matter.

That said, Mr Johnson has shone the spotlight on a difficult issue.

Some people do find the burqa a questionable item of clothing.

Some are intimidated by it, and by those who wear it.

Many have pointed out that there is no way of verifying the identity of the person wearing it. Mrs Mike has even suggested it would be hard to be sure, even, of their gender.

She referred to the question of how their identity is checked at airports, saying that women wearing face-coverings are routinely excused from the kind of checks that other people have to undergo. I can confirm that this is not true.

UK Border Agency guidance makes it clear that: “It is a requirement that Border Force Officers always establish the nationality and identity of all passengers.  Officers are requested that passengers wearing veils or other face coverings ask to remove the covering in order that they may be identified as the rightful holder of their passport or travel document.”

(This sentence seems garbled. I think they mean officers are encouraged to ask passengers wearing veils or other face-coverings to remove them for the purposes of identification.)

“The UK Border Agency recognises that individual sensitivities must be taken into consideration, therefore if a passenger is uncomfortable removing their face covering in public they are escorted to a private room away from the border checkpoint and asked to uncover their face there.

“Female passengers, who are uncomfortable removing a face covering in public and/or in the presence of males, are checked in private by a female officer.”

The other issues are less easy to answer. It occurs to me that, as there is a perceived problem, perhaps Muslim women would be best-placed to tackle it, with an effort to allay the fears of those who question the use of this particular item of apparel, and the need for it.

This is an instance of culture shock – two cultures have collided and are finding it hard to reconcile themselves on certain levels.

The only meaningful way to do that is communication. If Boris Johnson’s remarks trigger an increase in fruitful discourse, then something good will have come from them.

But I don’t think for one moment that this is what that man intended and I look forward to the Conservative Party’s disciplinary proceedings against him.

Rowan Atkinson has defended Boris Johnson after his controversial comments about women wearing burkas.

The actor, known for his comedy performances in Mr Bean and Blackadder, said the remarks were funny.

Atkinson wrote in a letter to The Times: ‘As a lifelong beneficiary of the freedom to make jokes about religion, I do think that Boris Johnson’s joke about wearers of the burka resembling letterboxes is a pretty good one.’

He added: ‘All jokes about religion cause offence, so it’s pointless apologising for them.

‘You should really only apologise for a bad joke. On that basis, no apology is required.’

Source: Rowan Atkinson backs Boris Johnson because ‘you should only ever apologise for a bad joke’ | Metro News

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Will Johnson be disciplined over burqa remarks – or is he building support among racists?

The Conservative Party is covering itself in shame over this matter – and, it seems, so is the British public.

Not only are the Tories showing that their own code of conduct isn’t worth the time it took to write it, as it clearly shows that Boris Johnson’s burqa comments warrant disciplinary action but none is being taken…

But This Writer understands his unwise words have triggered a show of support among a certain section of the British public – presumably those responsible for the increase in Islamophobic attacks recorded in the last year.

Still, what can you expect from Tories – a small-minded, racist gang, supported by small-minded racists?

The Conservative party is coming under intense pressure to decide whether to take disciplinary action against Boris Johnson following his continued refusal to apologise for his controversial descriptions of fully veiled Muslim women.

A complaint about Johnson has been lodged with Tory party chairman Brandon Lewis, who is responsible for the party’s code of conduct which says that Tory MPs and other holders of public office should “foster respect and tolerance” in their work.

Lewis has to decide whether to launch disciplinary proceedings following a day of intense criticism of Johnson, largely from the liberal wing of the party, after he used a column in the Telegraph to compare fully veiled women to “letterboxes” and “bank robbers”.

Monitoring group Tell Mama said last month that a record number of anti-Muslim attacks and incidents of abuse were reported last year, with women disproportionately targeted.

Source: Tories under pressure over disciplinary action against Boris Johnson | Politics | The Guardian

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Tory treatment of migrant families exposes the racism they are trying to hide

A mother and son from El Salvador reunited after being held separately in the US.

The Tories are exposed yet again – this time over their continuing ‘hostile environment’ to immigrants policy.

It links several threads of racism in the Conservative Party: Not only does it show that the legacy of the Windrush Scandal is no change in policy – exactly as This Site stated immediately after the scandal broke – but it reminds us that racism is institutionalised among the Tories, as we see with Boris Johnson’s recent comments about burqa-wearing Muslim women.

We are left with information that should be devastating to Conservative Party support – that they are still deporting people; that they are hushing up unlawful detention cases with the kind of ‘gagging’ orders that Sajid Javid denies using on Windrush-related compensation issues; and that they are hiding the facts about the number of times they have separated children from their parents.

Oh, and Theresa May is a hypocrite for criticising Donald Trump’s “separation” policy. But we’ve seen her hypocrisy so many times before, it is hardly worth noticing here.

The worst aspect of this is that the Tories are likely to gain support because of this. They have used their puppets in the press to whip up racism among the general public, as can be seen by the reaction to Mr Johnson’s recent comments.

When Kisi Assan dropped off her two-year-old daughter at nursery, it was the first time they had been separated since the child’s birth. Following a summons from the Home Office, she then set off to attend a meeting at a nearby immigration reporting Assan [not her real name] had no idea that it was part of a plan to deport her at short notice to west Africa. Shortly after arriving at the centre, the 28-year-old was restrained by eight security officials, and transferred to a detention facility – without her child.

This practice is one of the toxic yet least-publicised elements of Theresa May’s “hostile environment”, introduced when she was home secretary. While Donald Trump’s policy of separating immigrant families has drawn international opprobrium, the practice continues largely unchallenged in the UK. Some say that when the prime minister recently described Trump’s scheme as “deeply disturbing” and “wrong”, she must have hoped her own approach would be overlooked.

Lawyers point out that UK unlawful detention cases are often settled out of court and silenced by confidentiality clauses. Inspired by the universal condemnation of Trump’s separation policy, parents with ongoing cases against the Home Office have spoken out about a system that, lawyers claim, fails to take a child’s welfare into account. “It is cruel and completely unnecessary,” said Janet Farrell of solicitors Bhatt Murphy.

Every year, hundreds of children are separated from a parent who is detained in a UK immigration centre – and numbers continue to rise. According to the charity Bail for Immigration Detainees (Bid), 322 children were separated from 167 parents in the 12 months to the end of July, an increase of 16% on the previous year. A proportion of the children involved will be in the sole care of the detained parent, and have to enter the care system. The Home Office does not keep records of the number of times it separates a child from a parent, a power it wields without apparent oversight.

Source: ‘I didn’t see my daughter for a month’: how UK splits migrant families | UK news | The Guardian

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The berk and the burqa (or Boris Johnson strikes again)

Boris Johnson: He may think women wearing burqas look like bank robbers, but he is a clown, even when he isn’t wearing the make-up.

At long last, Boris Johnson’s racism is being addressed – and at just the wrong moment for the Conservative Party.

The Tories have been quiet for a week, allowing their poodles in the mass media to feast on the Labour “anti-Semitism” row – and it seems likely Theresa May was hoping none of her MPs would do anything stupid enough to raise a comparison.

And then Mr Johnson opened his mouth, said Muslim women in burqas resemble letterboxes and bank robbers, and reopened the Tory “Islamophobia” row.

Tory chairman Brandon Lewis has condemned it, after Baroness Warsi called it “dog-whistle” Islamophobia.

So far, Theresa May has been silent – but this cannot continue, unless she wants the whole country to conclude that she has learned nothing from the Windrush scandal.

That revelation told us that Mrs May had been involved in a racist vendetta against UK citizens who immigrated into the UK on the Empire Windrush, or were descended from people who had done so.

Amber Rudd lost her job as Home Secretary because of that fiasco – in order to save Mrs May’s political bacon.

It became important for the Tory government to show it had learned its lesson – but new Home Secretary Sajid Javid has been exposed blackmailing victims of the Windrush scandal into signing “gagging” orders in order to received fast-track compensation payments.

And now this.

Perhaps Mrs May thinks she won’t have to say anything – that she can weather this summer storm because Jeremy Corbyn is under so much pressure.

But the accusations of anti-Semitism against him are false.

And Theresa May really is a racist, in charge of a racist government.

Additional: It seems the Tory leader is unlikely to do anything about Mr Johnson’s racism – because she is unwilling to rock the boat ahead of crucial Brexit votes after the summer recess. Reading between the lines, I would call that an admission of widespread racism in the ranks of the Parliamentary Conservative Party.

Boris Johnson has been told by Conservative party chiefs to apologise for his claim that Muslim women in burqas resemble letter boxes and bank robbers.

The Tory chairman, Brandon Lewis, said he had asked the former foreign secretary to say sorry for his controversial remarks in an attempt to draw a line under the Islamophobia row.

It came after Alistair Burt, the minister for the Middle East, who worked under Johnson, described the comments as offensive and said he would never have said anything similar.

The former Conservative chairman Sayeeda Warsi has accused Johnson of “dog-whistle” Islamophobia and criticised the lack of action by the party on the issue.

Source: Tory chief tells Boris Johnson to apologise for burqa remarks | Politics | The Guardian

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