‘It’s NOT the answer’ – Boris Johnson HITS OUT at Denmark for banning the burka in public | Politics | News – UK


Writing in his regular newspaper column, Mr Johnson suggested banning the burka could increase tensions between Muslims and other demographic groups.

He said: “I am against a total ban because it is inevitably construed – rightly or wrongly – as being intended to make some point about Islam.

“If you go for a total ban, you play into the hands of those who want to politicise and dramatise the so-called clash of civilisations; and you fan the flames of grievance.

“You risk turning people into martyrs, and you risk a general crackdown on any public symbols of religious affiliation, and you may simply make the problem worse.

“If Danish women really want to cover their faces, then it seems a bit extreme – all the caveats above understood – to stop them under all circumstances. I don’t propose we follow suit. A total ban is not the answer.”

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Denmark is the fifth EU nation to ban the niqab and burka in public.

In recent years, France, Belgium, Austria, and Germany have all implemented similar rules.

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.”

However, in comments which are sure to cause controversy, the Uxbridge MP admitted he thinks the burka is “oppressive” and there are times when he thinks it may be appropriate for them to be removed.

He wrote in the newspaper: “If you tell me that the burka is oppressive, then I am with you. If you say that it is weird and bullying to expect women to cover their faces, then I totally agree – and I would add that I can find no scriptural authority for the practice in the Koran.

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“I would go further and say that it is absolutely ridiculous that people should choose to go around looking like letter boxes; and I thoroughly dislike any attempt by any – invariably male – government to encourage such demonstrations of “modesty”.”

The MP added: “If a constituent came to my MP’s surgery with her face obscured, I should feel fully entitled – like Jack Straw – to ask her to remove it so that I could talk to her properly.

“If a female student turned up at school or at a university lecture looking like a bank robber then ditto: those in authority should be allowed to converse openly with those that they are being asked to instruct.”

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He also suggested businesses should be able to ask women to remove the head coverings so people can “see each other’s faces”.

There has already been one fine issued for the new offence in Denmark since its August 1 implementation.

As Mr Johnson mentions in his article: “Already a fine of 1000 kroner – about £120 – has been imposed on a 28-year-old woman seen wearing a niqab in a shopping centre in the north eastern town of Horsholm.

“A scuffle broke out as someone tried to rip it off her head. There have been demonstrations, on both sides of the argument.”


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