Union said it would go on strike if Zim-chartered vessel entered Radès.
Key questions about potential consequences of ex-foreign secretary’s burqa remarks
The Conservatives have received dozens of complaints about Boris Johnson’s comments on Muslim women who wear burqas, according to party sources. He used a column in the Telegraph to compare fully veiled women to “letterboxes” and “bank robbers”.Continue reading...
Index on Censorship gives books promoting tolerance to two men suspended from party after attack on Bookmarks in London
Free speech campaigners have sent books including The Handmaid’s Tale, The Color Purple and the Qur’an to the Ukip members said to have attacked a socialist bookshop in London to “introduce them to different ideas”.
Bookmarks in Bloomsbury was attacked by 12 people – one of whom was wearing a Donald Trump mask – just before it closed on Saturday. The group chanted far-right slogans, knocked over displays, ripped up magazines, and intimidated the two members of staff who were there. Ukip later said that three of its members, Elizabeth Jones, Luke Nash-Jones and Martin Costello had been suspended, pending an investigation into the incident. Jones was later cleared of wrongdoing.Continue reading...
Move comes after MEP says party must choose between being a ‘genuine one nation force’ or ‘an English nationalist movement’
Former foreign secretary Boris Johnson is to face investigation by an
independent panel following complaints that his comments about the burqa breached the Conservative party’s code of conduct.
The investigation comes in the wake of the controversy over Johnson comparing women in burqas to “letterboxes” and “bank robbers” in his Daily Telegraph column. Johnson has refused to apologise for his controversial descriptions despite calls for him to do so by the Tory party hierarchy.Continue reading...
UN envoy warns of “devastating consequences” if escalation is not contained.
Former foreign secretary has caused offence by saying that Muslim women who wear burqas look like 'letterboxes' or 'bank robbers', said Theresa May.
Johnson, who resigned last month over the Chequers Brexit deal, prompting an outcry from other politicians and Muslim groups with his comments. 'It was the wrong language to use. He should not have used it,' the prime minister said.Continue reading...
Complaint lodged against former foreign secretary as he continues to refuse to apologise for burqa comments
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.Continue reading...
Tory activists claim party members admire former foreign secretary’s “straight talking”
Boris Johnson’s support among grassroots Conservatives, already resurgent in the wake of his resignation over Brexit, appears to have been bolstered further by his claim that Muslim women in burqas resemble letterboxes and bank robbers.
Tory activists have claimed that party members admire the former foreign secretary’s “straight talking” on the controversial issue and suggested his words implied he had listened to some of their concerns about community integration.Continue reading...
‘When people attack you, you feel like the only thing you have to cling on to is your religion’
“I mean just what is his problem? He comes out with disgraceful stuff like this all the time. It’s not funny, it’s dangerous. He is peddling this rightwing rhetoric and shrouding it in humour.” Waqas Siddiqui is exasperated and fears yet another rise in hate crime in his home town of Blackburn after Boris Johnson’s controversial remarks about the burqa.Continue reading...
I’m appalled by Boris Johnson’s comments on the niqab being compared to a “letterbox” (Johnson should apologise for ‘offensive’ burqa remarks, says May, 8 August). As an Ahmadi Muslim woman who has chosen to wear a hijab, I find Mr Johnson’s words to be utterly offensive. A Muslim woman – or any woman, in fact – has a right to wear what she pleases. Why does the media consistently target Muslim women who wish to wear Islamic dress? It’s not a government’s place to ban Islamic or any religious clothing. It’s absurd that running around naked seems to be OK but wearing clothes is offensive. Surely Denmark should focus on pressing issues such as climate change, pollution and the gender pay gap.
In a new working paper, Henrik Kleven states “The arrival of children creates a gender gap in earnings of around 20%” in Denmark, penalising a woman for having a child. These are the real issues Denmark should focus on. As for Mr Johnson’s offensive remarks, I urge himMr Johnson to think about the way he talks about women. The Qur’an (chapter 24, verse 32) teaches: “Restrain their looks and guard their private parts, and that they display not their beauty or embellishment except that which is apparent thereof and that they draw their head-covering over their bosoms.”Continue reading...
I turned 45 this week, but I have no intention of ‘acting my age’. In this respect, my latest birthday was just like all the others
The middle-aged have pulled off an almighty swizz on the world: 40 is no longer old and only a really old person would remark upon your advancing age, while 50 is a fait accompli; of course you are middle-aged and if anyone wanted to mention it they should have done so years ago. It is a fabulous act of cunning, as if a 16-year-old told you that it was the most suburban thing that they weren’t allowed to vote, then turned round at 21 and said: “What did you let me vote for? You can see that I’m still basically a child.” Except a young person would never do that, because they have more honour.
There is a hard ball of truth among this candyfloss of spin, which is the age of 45. You’re not 40. It’s not the new 35. You are not some symmetrical, nothing number – 42, 44 – to which no meaning can be attached. You are not mourning your youth, which is years behind you, but you are no longer in that enjoyable limbo where there is no name for what you are. You are more than a bit middle-aged: you are its dictionary definition.
Centrism says: 'Aren’t we all patriots at heart? Don’t we all hate immigrants and politicians?'Continue reading...
Former attorney general says comments about burqas show Johnson is not a ‘fit and proper’ person to lead Tories
A former Conservative minister has said he would leave the party if Boris Johnson were elected leader, as recriminations mounted over the former foreign secretary’s description of Muslim women in burqas.
The former attorney general Dominic Grieve, who has become a prominent advocate for a soft Brexit, described Johnson’s comments in a Telegraph column as “very embarrassing”. Meanwhile, more Tory MPs called for Johnson to apologise.
We are now into full bandwagon jumping territory on @BorisJohnson article. Seeing some of the tweets from colleagues desperate not to get left behind I can't see they can even have read it. If they did they clearly didn't understand it.Continue reading...
But activists are demanding a full inquiry into covert trade with Israel.
Boris Johnson’s burqa remarks were not a one-off. The Conservatives need to show zero tolerance to such damaging derision
Now we know that Boris Johnson’s defining ideology – cakeism – spreads beyond Brexit. In his Telegraph column on the burqa that has led to calls for his suspension from the Conservative party and demands from the prime minister that he apologise, the former foreign secretary wanted, yet again, to have his cake and eat it.Continue reading...
• Tory peer accuses Boris Johnson of making ‘hate crime more likely’
On Monday, in a column in the Daily Telegraph, Boris Johnson compared fully veiled Muslim women to “letter boxes” and “bank robbers”. Thankfully, both the prime minister Theresa May and the Conservative party chair Brandon Lewis have asked Johnson to apologise. Others in my party and in the media have seen fit to defend him. I’d like to set out precisely why his remarks are indefensible, and have no place in the modern Conservative party – and the action I think needs to follow.Continue reading...
Exclusive: Sayeeda Warsi says burqa jibe adds to view that Muslim women are ‘fair game’
One of the Conservative party’s most high-profile Muslims has accused Boris Johnson of making “hate crime more likely” with an indefensible, “dog-whistle” reference to fully veiled Muslim women.
Sayeeda Warsi, writing in the Guardian on Wednesday, said the former foreign secretary had used rightwing, “alt-right” language in criticising the appearance of the burqa, which contributes to a view that “Muslim women are fair game”.Continue reading...
Human rights are non-negotiable. Except in Gaza.
Theresa May has called on Boris Johnson to apologise after he compared Muslim women in burqas to 'letterboxes' and 'bank robbers'. She added that 'nobody should tell a woman how to dress'Continue reading...
Yesterday, in one of Boris Johnson’s new columns for the Telegraph (which you may recall the paper made a big announcement of after he resigned as foreign secretary), he registered his half-hearted opposition to Denmark’s ban on the face-covering worn by some Muslim women, but then spent more time informing us of how much he disliked it, comparing the women’s appearance to those of letter-boxes and bank-robbers. The article was immediately condemned by Muslims and the Labour party; the condemnation from the Tories has taken rather longer to start appearing; Alistair Burt criticised it on Radio 4’s Today programme this morning and party chairman Brandon Lewis has now said he asked Johnson to apologise in a tweet posted after midday today. His comments have naturally received support from other Tories, including the bane of the posh boys Nadine Dorries, who tweeted that “any clothing a woman is forced to wear that hides both her beauty and her bruises should be banned and have no place in our liberal, progressive country”, joining between illiberalism and racism with the assumption that it generally hides bruises. Presumably she also thinks a stab victim should go topless and a rape victim should go naked.
As ever, there is the lazy insistence on calling the face veil women wear a “burka”. There are two different garments which are called this and neither of them are worn by women here; they tend to wear the niqaab which is a simple veil which ties round the back of the head and covers the face, and can be flipped up when necessary. What is generally thought of as a burka is only worn in Afghanistan and neighbouring regions of Pakistan, and is sometimes called the “shuttlecock” (even there) because of its appearance, and is an all-over garment with a grille for the eyes. To suggest anything Muslim women wear resembles the dress of bank robbers, who are usually men, is highly insulting as well as inaccurate; bank robbers wear motorcycle helmets or balaclavas which look nothing like the niqaab.
But Boris’s rant is not the point of this article. My focus is on the response of Nazir Afzal, who posted a tweet yesterday which claimed that “there is no religious reason for wearing Burka (it’s not allowed in Mecca pilgrimage … I don’t like it either” before adding the proviso that “it’s also wrong for me or politician (sic) to belittle whatever a woman chooses to wear”. Nazir Afzal is the media’s idea of a “good Muslim”, a clean-shaven man who made his name prosecuting Muslim child sex abusers. He is not a religious scholar and his comment shows his ignorance. What people wear on the Hajj is not a guide for what they should wear at any other time, and the rule that a woman should not wear a veil across the face does not apply at any other time. Besides, when did you ever see a man wear anything remotely resembling the ihraam, the rough two-piece white garment worn for Hajj, at any other time? Even in the Hajj, some scholars have allowed a woman to wear a veil over their face as long as it does not actually touch the face, and some have said it was compulsory.
As for wearing it at any other time, a large proportion of religiously observant women at most times in Muslim history before the colonial era covered their face, often by pulling their head covering around their face as is found in parts of East Africa and Indonesia today. The niqaab is a modern invention, but it serves the same purpose. This tradition dates back to the time of the Prophet (sall’ Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) and is not a Byzantine or Persian import as some academics insist; the majority of scholars have said that the commandment for women to cover their beauty applies to the face although there is a specific hadeeth that indicates that showing the face and hands is acceptable. In this day and age, when the majority of women do not even cover their hair and the niqaab is commonly (though wrongly) associated with extremism, I would not go round telling women that they must cover their faces if they do not feel safe doing so. Wearing the headscarf, which actually is compulsory in Islam, is enough of a struggle for many women, especially those new to Islam.
At times when Islam and the Muslims are being attacked by an open and public racist, half-hearted or partial criticisms from Muslim public figures attached to ill-informed opinions about what Islam says do not help; they in fact offer the enemy in the press, Parliament and the street ammunition, since they can tell Muslims that this or that famous Muslim in fact agrees with them and not with their fellow Muslims. You cannot slap a racist down by agreeing with his opinions but disagreeing with his tone; you condemn him absolutely, while saving discussions about the virtues of the niqaab or whatever for another day.
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Thank goodness Boris Johnson is no longer foreign secretary. This is always worth saying. But it is particularly worth saying after his tasteless newspaper column joke about Muslim women who wear the burqa. Given his track record, the chances of Mr Johnson saying the same thing while representing Britain would have been high. So the one redeeming thing about his comments is that they do not come with the imprimatur of the British government. For that relief, some thanks.
Mr Johnson was not interested in a discussion about the burqa. He is interested in himself. In so far as he will have thought about the effect of his remarks – which is doubtful – his primary concern will have been to be noticed. Mr Johnson craves attention. He also still craves the Conservative leadership, a job for which he is peculiarly ill-suited but which too many members of his party think he would do well. They could not be more wrong. Mr Johnson’s remarks therefore say something very disturbing about both him and the Tory party, as well as the kind of Britain that it would be our misfortune to suffer if he was ever to return to power in any shape.Continue reading...