Boris Johnson Says Women Wearing Burqa Look Like ‘Letter Boxes’

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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

Boris Johnson has come under fire after saying that Muslim women wearing burkas "look like letter boxes" or bank robbers.

"Boris Johnson's latest racist insults can not be laughed off, like they often are", said Naz Shah, Labour's shadow equalities minister.

Mohammed Amin of the Conservative Muslim Forum said: "Boris must be aware that the amount of space he devotes in his column to slagging off Muslim women who wear niqab and burqa is denigrating them, and will whip up anti-Muslim hate in this country".

"Theresa May must condemn this blatant Islamophobia and Boris Johnson must apologize", said Shah.

"Muslim women are having their burqas pulled off by thugs in our streets and Boris Johnson's response is to mock them for "looking like letter boxes", tweeted Lammy.

In Denmark, where wearing the face veil became illegal last week, police on Saturday issued the first fine of 1,000 kroner ($157) to a woman for breaking the law in a sjopping centre in Horsholm, north of Copenhagen, according to Danish media reports.

It comes as the imam of Finsbury Park mosque, which was targeted by a far-right terrorist in an attack that killed one man, publicly criticised the government's "lacklustre" efforts to fight Islamophobia.

Tell MAMA, an NGO tracking hate crime targeting Muslims in Britain, said in a statement that Johnson's comments "dehumanise" Muslim women.

He added it was "weird" and "bullying" to "expect women to cover their faces".

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".

Businesses and government agencies should also be able to "enforce a dress code that enables their employees to interact with customers", including by allowing them to see their faces, said Mr Johnson.

Writing in The Daily Telegraph, he continued: "Restrictions are not quite the same as telling a free-born adult woman what she may or may not wear, in a public place, when she is simply minding her own business".

It would also "play into the hands" of people who want to "dramatise the so-called 'clash of civilisations", Mr Johnson said, with the risk of creating martyrs.

Johnson labelled the religious symbol "oppressive", and claimed of the niqab: "It is absolutely ridiculous that people should choose to go around looking like letter boxes".

'Our pound-shop Donald Trump is fanning the flames of Islamophobia to propel his grubby electoral ambitions'. Creasey said her advice to Johnson was that "being a buffoon, not being a racist and misogynist, (is) more British".

The former foreign secretary's comments will be interpreted as part of a pitch to Conservative grassroots members for a potential Tory leadership contest as May's popularity continues to plummet.

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