Apologise for burqa jibe: Theresa May

Apologise for burqa jibe: Theresa May

London : Theresa May has waded into the row over Boris Johnson’s claim that Muslim women in burqas resemble letter boxes and bank robbers, urging the former foreign secretary to apologise after he defied an order to do so by Tory chiefs, The London Times Reported.

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.

She urged people to be “very careful” about the language they used to discuss issues such as women wearing the burqa, but stopped short of saying Johnson should have the whip withdrawn for his remarks.

After a meeting with the Scottish first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, May told reporters: “I am very clear and the government is very clear about our position on the issue of the burqa, which is that women should be able to choose how to dress. It’s up to a woman to decide how to dress, it’s not up to other people to tell a woman how to dress. “It’s right that we have discussion about issues like this, but in doing that we all have to be very careful about the language and the terms that we use. “Some of the terms that Boris used in describing people’s appearance obviously have offended people, and so I agree with Brandon Lewis.”

The former foreign secretary is understood to view the instruction as an attempt to shut down debate on a difficult issue that should be tackled head-on. One source close to Johnson said: “It is ridiculous that these views are being attacked – we must not fall into the trap of shutting down the debate on difficult issues.

“We have to call it out. If we fail to speak up for liberal values then we are simply yielding ground to reactionaries and extremists.”

Earlier, Lewis said he had asked Johnson to apologise for his controversial remarks in an attempt to draw a line under the Islamophobia row.

Ex-foreign secy Boris Johnson had claimed that Muslim women in burqas resemble letter boxes & bank robbers


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