LONDON — Former Foreign Minister Boris Johnson sparked a row over Islamophobia by describing Muslim women wearing burqas as “ridiculous” and “weird.”
Writing in the Daily Telegraph on Monday, Britain’s one-time top diplomat said women wearing the burqa looked like “letter-boxes” or “bank robbers”.
In his controversial column, Johnson said he opposed a ban on face-covering veils, but added it was “absolutely ridiculous that people should choose to go around looking like letter-boxes”.
Johnson, who resigned as foreign secretary in July over Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit strategy, was swiftly condemned by former colleagues and fellow lawmakers for his Islamophobic comment.
Following a growing chorus of condemnation over Johnson’s derogatory views he made about Muslim women wearing burqas, Britain’s Conservative Party Chairman Brandon Lewis said on Tuesday he had asked Johnson to apologize.
“I have asked @BorisJohnson to apologize,” Brandon Lewis wrote on Twitter.
— Brandon Lewis (@BrandonLewis) August 7, 2018
Prime Minister Theresa May has also backed calls for her former foreign minister to apologise for his comments.
May said his remarks “have clearly caused offence” and agreed with the chairman of her Conservative party, Brandon Lewis, who had asked Johnson to apologise.
However, allies of Boris Johnson, who was not named have said he will not apologize for comments made.
“It is ridiculous that these views are being attacked – we must not fall into the trap of shutting down the debate on difficult issues.”