New British PM Boris Johnson has Muslim ancestors

The newly elected British Prime Minister Boris Johnson reportedly has a Muslim ancestral history and his grandparents were among the most important figures of the former Ottoman Empire.

The Dawn with reference to BBC Urdu reported that during a recent debate on television in connection with the Conservative Party elections, Mr Johnson referred to his Muslim ancestors.

The report went on to state that Mr Johnson’s paternal great-grandfather was Ali Kemal, a journalist and liberal politician of the Ottoman Empire who worked in the region that is now Turkey.

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Born in 1867, Mr Kemal being a journalist travelled extensively and visited many countries. During his travels, he also visited Switzerland, where he met Winifred Brun, an Anglo-Swiss woman and the daughter of a Margaret Johnson. They married in London in 1903.

Kemal’s strong ‘liberal’ views early in his life triggered his exile from the Ottoman Empire. However, when the rule of the Sultan, who had banished Mr Kemal, came to an end, the latter became one of the most prominent figures in Ottoman political life, the report said.

Mr Kemal’s son Wilfred Johnson and daughter — who were living in England — adopted their matrilineal surname Johnson. Wilfred Johnson married Irene Williams. The couple had a son named Stanley Johnson who is Boris Johnson’s father.

Mr Johnson unearthed his lineage for the first time in 2008, when he took part in the BBC’s Who Do You Think You Are? series.

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