One third of Britons view Johnson’s burqa comments as racist: Poll
A new poll shows that more than a third of people in Britain view comments by former foreign minister Boris Johnson on burqa, a full-body dress for Muslim women, as racist.
According to the results of the survey by Sky News, six out of ten people said it was "not" racist to compare Muslim women wearing the Islamic veils to “bank robbers” and “letter boxes ” as Johnson had designated, while just 33 percent of the respondents thought it was racist.
The poll also suggested that 26 percent of Britons were against a ban on burqas, while around 60 percent supported such a ban by the government.
The poll was conducted after Johnson made the comparisons in an article for The Daily Telegraph newspaper on Monday.
It revealed that Britons remain split as to whether Johnson should apologize for his remarks - 45 percent think he should do so, while the majority, some 48 percent, think he should not.
People from the capital city London were the heaviest critics of Johnson, a man they twice elected as London mayor, with over 50 percent saying he should apologize for the Islamophobic remarks.
A series of prominent Conservatives have called on Johnson to apologize, including the Prime Minister Theresa May. A senior Tory Muslim peer, Lord Sheikh, said Johnson should lose the Conservative whip if he doesn't make a public show of contrition. This means that his ties with the Party would be seriously downgraded.
“Take the whip from him. Why not? He's not a superhuman being; he's a member of the party. The party chairman, the prime minister has the right to take the whip,” said Lord Sheikh.
The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), the UK's largest Muslim umbrella organization, has also released a public statement condemning Johnson’s article.
“Boris Johnson’s comments are particularly regrettable in this current climate, where Islamophobia and anti-Muslim hatred is becoming worryingly pervasive with disappointingly little action from this current government. Muslim women bear the brunt of hate on the streets… We need responsibility and action from our politicians, not pandering to the far-right,” it read.
The MCB has been investigating incidents of Islamophobia within the Tory party and has recently demanded an internal enquiry to be launched to root out Conservative party Islamophobia.
So far Boris Johnson has refused to apologize for the comments or admit any wrongdoing despite Prime Minister May’s intervention.