British politician Boris Johnson asked to apologize for burka comments

British politician Boris Johnson asked to apologize for burka comments

MP has hit out at the former foreign secretary after he said that Muslim women wearing burkas look like "letter boxes".

But he made several comparisons between the covering worn by some women, saying it made them look like a bank robber or a letter box.

Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright joined the chorus of criticism and former Cabinet minister Lord Pickles said that, while it would be a "very big leap" to suggest Mr Johnson could be thrown out of the party, "you never know how these things develop".

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

The assistant secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, Miqdaad Versi, said Mr Johnson was "pandering to the far right".

"A single case of abuse is one too many, and since becoming chairman I have taken a zero-tolerance approach", he said.

Boris Johnson has been told to apologise for comments about burqa-wearing women (Victoria Jones/PA Wire).

Giving evidence to the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, Mr Johnson said Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe had been "training journalists" at the time of her arrest, even though she maintained she was on holiday.

The prime minister said she agreed with the Conservative party chairman, Brandon Lewis, that Johnson should say sorry for his remarks, which she acknowledged had caused offence among the Muslim community. You call for someone to apologise if they have made a mistake, Boris Johnson didn't make mistake.

In his Daily Telegraph article Mr Johnson said that he felt "fully entitled" to expect women who wear face coverings to take them off when talking to him at his MP surgery.

"It is Islamophobia and I think it's pretty outrageous".

Mr McDonnell also pointed to the protest at Bookmarks in Bloomsbury, central London, on Saturday as proof of a rise of the far right.

He was released earlier this month after judges quashed the contempt finding, but warned he could still be returned to prison at a later hearing on the same allegations.

The bookshop said in a statement that "around a dozen mask-wearing fascists" attempted to intimidate staff and customers and to destroy books and other materials.

Ukip suspended three party members understood to have been involved in the incident.

Mr McDonnell called for anti-racist campaigners to emulate the Anti-Nazi League, the group launched in the 1970s with the backing of the Socialist Workers Party and linked to Rock Against Racism, which brought together acts such as The Clash, Elvis Costello and Sham 69.

His article stated that there was no requirement in the Koran for women to cover their faces, and attacked "bullying (and) oppressive" male-dominated governments which tried to force them to do so.

Warsi said: "These were offensive comments but clever politics".