Promoted from the diaries by streiff. Promotion does not imply endorsement.
British Politician and journalist Boris Johnson wrote an op-ed in “The Telegraph” in response to Denmark’s newly passed legislation banning women from wearing burkas. Johnson said that although burkas are “oppressive and ridiculous” and that they make women look like “letter boxes” and “bank robbers,” women should be able to wear them if they choose to.
Frankly, burkas do make women look like letter boxes and bank robbers. And they are oppressive and ridiculous.
Nevertheless, Johnson’s remarks have ignited a firestorm. The Conservative Party said they have received dozens of complaints and that Johnson will face a disciplinary inquiry, which could even result in suspension or expulsion.
An independent investigator will have to decide whether the complaints are sufficiently serious to appoint a three-person panel to examine the matter further. Johnson will be asked if he wants to provide a statement in his own defense.
Lord Sheikh, a Conservative peer who submitted a complaint, said he wanted a thorough investigation. “I would be very, very unhappy if a panel was not appointed,” he said, adding that he had been reassured that Johnson could no longer get off if he said sorry. “I was told by a party official that even if he apologized now, the process would not stop.”
The party’s code of conduct – against which Johnson will be judged – says that MPs and other holders of public office should “not use their position to bully, abuse, victimize, harass or unlawfully discriminate against others” and should “foster respect and tolerance.”
UK officials, including “Prime Minister Theresa May and Party chairman Brandon Lewis have demanded Johnson apologize, but he refused.”
Given Britain’s large Muslim population, this is apparently a hot button issue. Opinion is very divided, to say the least.
Johnson has his supporters such as the MP Nadine Dorries who said, “There is no place in our society for women who are forced to cover up from head to toe.”
Former chief superintendent in the Metropolitan police, Del Babu, criticized Johnson’s remarks.
Johnson’s comments were “racist and likely to stoke violence against Muslim women.”
He said there was “a pattern of hate crime in the UK: after terrorist attacks and when politicians make pronouncements about the Muslim community, Islamophobic attacks increase.”
Although the current Metropolitan police commissioner, Cressida Dick, is not supportive of Johnson, he believes that calls to charge him with a crime are unwarranted. He said “Johnson’s remarks about Muslim women wearing the burka would not “reach the bar” for a criminal offense.”
Asked to comment on Johnson’s op-ed, Civil Society Minister Tracey Crouch told the BBC:
“Boris Johnson’s comments about burkas left Muslim women across the country feeling “threatened.” We need to have respect for people for what they wear – it is not for us to decide what they wear.”
British Feminist Sayeeda Warsi says:
“Johnson’s contempt for Muslim women is part of a dangerous pattern. Ridiculing people doesn’t make them more likely to integrate. The Conservative party is alienating a whole section of society.”
A spokeswoman from the Muslim Society of Britain wrote to Johnson saying, “We are not forced to make these clothing choices, nor are we oppressed.”
Actually, in many cases, women are forced to wear burkas by their fathers, husbands or brothers. Honor killings do occur over women’s failure to wear burkas when they are expected to.
Denmark’s ban on burkas is a wise move for two reasons. First, and most importantly, an individual can hide all sorts of things under a burka, anything from a weapon to their identity. In a world where acts of terrorism are becoming a regular occurrence, people simply can’t be allowed to wear a garment that covers up their identity.
In addition, immigrants should make an effort to assimilate into the culture and customs of their new country.