Boris Johnson’s irresponsible comments

Birmingham: Imam Shahed Tameez Chairman Birmingham Council of Mosques (BCM) & Incharge Zia ul Ummah Center UK Said Boris Johnson’s irresponsible comments: Muslim women wearing burkas “look like letter boxes” and for comparing them to “bank robbers” have caused tensions in communities. Muslim communities have spent a considerable amount of time and effort in reaching out and engaging with the wider community in bid to integrate and become an active part of society. Comments such as these are a clear hindrance in these efforts and need appropriate action to be taken. To isolate and ridicule a person for what they choose to wear is not only disrespectful and childish, it is dangerous and can cause serious unrest within a community. A person in a status of power and influence should not use his position to make such rude remarks and offend so many people. This gives a sense of legitimacy for others to do the same. Comments such as these cause Muslim women who do choose to wear the veil to feel more threatened and fear that they will suffer abuse for what they wear. If Boris were to direct his mockery towards another segment in a community, there would be uproar, but as the Islamic veil is constantly under attack, the preposterous comments are openly said without any serious consequence. Again, giving it a sense of acceptability. This is a sure way of causing tensions and division – a step backwards regarding integration. There is clear distinction between intellectual debate and bullish ridicule. Intellectual debate is where someone brings forward a respectful argument for or against something but to use offensive terms and mockery is not intellectual at all – it is daft, offensive and bullish. Comments such as these can give rise to Islamophobia and more attacks on Muslims in Britain. A woman has the right to choose whether she wants to wear the veil and should not be ridiculed for that. I urge all the community to always act responsibly and to not react in a way that is irresponsible or against the law. If you feel strongly about the comments that Boris has made, then please use the proper channels to voice your disapproval.

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