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BORIS JOHNSON was branded a “pound-shop Donald Trump” today after saying that Muslim women wearing burkas “look like letter boxes” or bank robbers.
The former foreign secretary wrote in the Daily Telegraph that he did not favour outlawing the wearing of the face-covering garment in public, saying that a ban would “give a boost to radicals” and turn the women into “martyrs.”
Mr Johnson then went on to claim that he should feel “fully entitled” to ask a constituent to remove her face covering at his MP surgery and that schools and universities should also if a “female student turned up looking like a bank robber.
“If you tell me that the burka is oppressive, then I am with you,” he also wrote.
“If you say that it is weird and bullying to expect women to cover their faces, then I totally agree and I would add that I can find no scriptural authority for the practice in the Koran.”
His comments were made in response to the introduction of a burka ban last week in Denmark, following in the footsteps of France, Germany, Austria and Belgium.
A fine of around £120 was imposed on a woman wearing a niqab in a shopping centre in the Danish town of Horsholm, after another woman reportedly tried to tear it off.
Muslim Council of Britain assistant general secretary Miqdaad Versi accused Mr Johnson of “pandering to the far right” for political gain.
Tottenham Labour MP David Lammy said: “Our pound-shop Donald Trump is fanning the flames of Islamophobia to propel his grubby electoral ambitions.”
Labour MP Jess Phillips said she would report Mr Johnson to the Equality and Human Rights Commission.
Downing Street confirmed that the government does not support a ban in this country.
Lamiat Sabin is the Morning Star’s Parliamentary Reporter.
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