LONDON: A British MP demanded Prime Minister Boris Johnson apologize for “derogatory and racist” remarks he made about Muslim women who chose to cover their faces in public.
The new British leader wrote a column last year in which he said it was ridiculous that women should resemble bank robbers or letter boxes.
But in a strongly-worded speech in parliament Wednesday, Labour Party’s Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi said the use of such language had led to a “spike in hate crime.”
“For those of us who from a young age have had to endure and face up to being called names such as towel-head, or Taliban, or coming from bongo-bongo land, we can fully appreciate the hurt and pain of already vulnerable Muslim women when they are described as looking like bank robbers and letterboxes,” said the Sikh MP.
“Rather than hide behind sham and whitewash investigations, when will the prime minister finally apologise for his derogatory and racist remarks?”
His comments were met with loud applause and cheers from the opposition benches.
Johnson again refused to apologize for the comments and defended the article.
“If the right honourable gentleman took the trouble to read the article in question, he would see it was a strong liberal defence of everybody’s right to wear whatever they want in this country.
“And I speak as somebody who is not only proud to have Muslim ancestors but to be related to Sikhs such as himself.”
This week, anti-racism group Tell MAMA said there had been a 375 percent increase in anti-Muslim incidents from the week before Mr Johnson made the comments in August 2018 to the week after.